Haunted House

8/30/2013 0 Comments

Do you believe in haunted houses? Have you ever had a paranormal experience in a house before? I have, and I’ll tell you a little bit about it.

Here is a picture of the house we lived in that was haunted. As you can see it’s an old picture. In fact, this is the photo my parents found in a real estate magazine. The reason why I’m thinking this is because all the information about the house and how much it cost at the time is on the back of it. This was in the 1970s by the way, and I was quite young.


Now why would I think this house was haunted? I’ll tell ya why . . .

1.) Things would go missing, but then reappear in the exact spot where it was to begin with.

But that’s kind of lame, right? I mean, humans tend to be dingbats at times so maybe my dad or mom just overlooked it. Okay, that’s a possibility. Let’s move on to the next one.

2.) Weird noises, like the sound of someone taking a metal cup and running it across steel bars: click, click, click, click.

One night our neighbor’s daughter was babysitting my sister and me. She got so scared when she heard the noise that she called her mom over to sit with us.

3.) The shadowed figure floating down the hall. My sister saw a shadowy being go by her room towards mine. I saw it and thought it was a witch. I hopped out of bed, went to her room and crawled into her bed. Since my sister is 4 yrs. older than me, she can remember more of these encounters than I. However, I do recall going into her room, her asking me why I was there, and me telling her I saw a witch.

4.) The spooky basement. Actually, we had a cool basement. It was huge. But I remember not wanting to be down there by myself, and still to this day I have bad dreams about it. The dreams are bizarre and always about a dark realm hidden behind the walls.


My parent’s friend Brent was staying with us and slept in the basement. One night he bolted up the stairs, scared out of his mind. My dad asked him what was wrong, and Brent told him the covers levitated off him. He didn’t go back down there by himself again.

5.) A couple arguing in the kitchen. My mom told me she heard a couple arguing about their seventeen-year-old son in the kitchen and slamming cupboard doors. They got so loud she had to tell them to shut-up.

6.) Speaking of kitchen that reminds me of a story my dad told me. When we moved into this house, they bought a new stove. My mom cooked on it for months until one day it wasn’t working anymore. She called my dad and told him, and he advised her to call the repair guy. She did, the guy came over, and discovered the plug was still wrapped up. Mom gave him a funny look and told him she’d been cooking on that stove for a while now. The repair guy shook his head and told Mom there was no way she used it to cook on. The manufacture’s wrapper was still on the dang plug for crying out loud! Needless to say, she couldn’t convince him otherwise.

7.) The recording. My parents decided to leave a tape recorder on all night. The next morning they played it back, and it sounded like a party was going on in our house.


Anyway, I have no doubt in my mind that house was haunted.

So what about you?

Have you ever lived in a haunted house?




The Devil’s Third Blurb

8/26/2013 0 Comments

Last month I did a cover reveal for The Devil’s Third. As most of you know, it’s the third book in my YA paranormal trilogy. Right now it’s going through edits and rewrites, and my editor and I are not even halfway through it yet. If you’re on Facebook and would like my Facebook Author page, you’ll see updates on its progress. I like to keep my fans inform and share as much as I can without spoiling the story for them. Once in a while, I'll also do giveaways on there. So if you want to like my author page here’s the link: http://www.Facebook.com/RebekkahFord2012

The dreaded blurb.

How many of you authors who are reading this hates writing a blurb? I bet 9 out of 10 of you do. It sucks trying to encompass a whole novel into a few short paragraphs. On top of that, there’s the added stress to make it entice a reader enough to want to buy your book.


I did do a post on writing a blurb. I think it was last year when I wrote it. I can’t remember. But even though I know the mechanics on how to create one, it’s still a challenge. I’m also very critical of my work and sometimes drive myself crazy because of how fickle I can be. In fact, after I wrote and was satisfied with The Devil’s Third blurb, I went back and changed the one on Beyond the Eyes. I think it’s a lot better–more intriguing. So anybody who has the paperback with the original blurb . . . keep it. Ya never know. It might be a collector’s item some day.


Anyway, here’s the description on the back cover of The Devil’s Third. If you’re on Goodreads and want to add it to your TBR list, here’s the link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18271641-the-devil-s-third

The Devil’s Third

The Exciting Continuation Of The Beyond the Eyes Trilogy.

If you could have the power to control evil, would you want it?

In a rainy, misty town filled with moss-covered trees and dwarfed by wooded mountains, Astoria, Oregon, holds many secrets and eighteen-year-old Paige Reed is one of them. She’s immortal, has magical abilities she’s discovering, and harbors King Solomon’s power inside her. With his incantations, she can control the dark spirits who lurk among societies in soulless humans.

But her problems are mounting.

Her best friend slips into a coma, and Paige must tap into her newfound powers—powers she’s unsure of—to save her.

Through this ordeal, Bael who once commanded a legion of black souls, forces Paige to make a pact with him, causing her to abandon the ones she loves. When she finds out where Solomon’s spells are and tells Bael, she begins to have second thoughts about her agreement with him.

Will she risk everything to claim the spells that hold the power to control the dark spirits so she can enslave him? Or will her one true love find her before she makes a horrible mistake that could damage her for life?

And most importantly, what does the Devil’s third mean and what is Bael really up to?



Book Feature-The Dream Series by J.J. DiBenedetto

I keep meeting wonderful authors and as you know I love helping other writers out. I believe in paying it forward. So I’m introducing  the Dream series by J. J. DiBenedetto to you.

The "Dreams" series is James' first published work.


Dream Student

What would you do if you could see other people’s dreams? If you could watch their hidden fantasies and uncover their deepest, darkest secrets…without them ever knowing?

Sara Barnes is about to find out. She thought that all she had to worry about was final exams, Christmas shopping and deciding whether she likes the cute freshman in the next dorm who’s got a crush on her.

But when she starts seeing dreams that aren’t hers, she learns more than she ever wanted to know about her friends, her classmates…and a strange, terrifying man whose dreams could get Sara killed.

"Dream Student" is the thrilling first installment of the Dreams series.


Dream Doctor

"I didn’t expect to be woken up by someone I don’t know dreaming about killing somebody. I thought I was done with that once and for all…"

But Sara’s not done with it. As if adjusting to life as a newlywed and starting medical school weren’t difficult enough, she’s started seeing the dreams of everyone around her, again. Before everything is said and done, those dreams might destroy Sara’s hopes of becoming a doctor, wreck her marriage and even end her life…

"Dream Doctor" is the thrilling second novel in the Dreams series.


Dream Child

"I would give anything to take this away from her. I would gladly go back to having the nightmares myself – the very worst ones, the ones that had me waking up screaming in a pool of my own vomit – rather than see Lizzie go through this..."

As a resident at Children's Hospital, Sara can handle ninety hour workweeks, fighting to save her young patients from deadly childhood diseases. But she's about to be faced with a challenge that all her training and experience haven't prepared her for: her four-year-old daughter has inherited her ability to see other people's dreams...

"Dream Child" is the suspenseful third novel in the "Dreams" series.


Dream Family

"Why is this so hard for me? Why am I having so much trouble? Why do I feel so helpless, so hopeless? What the hell is wrong with me?"

After tangling with murders and mobsters, not to mention medical school and three years of residency, Sara thought she could handle anything. And then the police show up without warning at her new office and arrest her for a crime she can't possibly have committed. Sara's confidence, and her grip on reality, is shattered during one terrifying night in jail.

Now, the very dreams that have endangered her life and driven her to the edge of madness may be the only thing that can help Sara find herself again...

"Dream Family" is the powerful fourth novel in the "Dreams" series.


Waking Dream

"Oh, God! We can hurt each other. Whatever we do to each other in the dream, we’ll do it to ourselves for real…"

When her own dreams are visited by a mysterious woman in a red dress, Sara realizes she has something she never expected: a counterpart, someone outside her family who shares her talent to see other people’s dreams.

When the woman in red keeps showing up in other dreams as well, leaving ruined lives in her wake, Sara knows she has something she never imagined: a nemesis.

Now, Sara must track the woman in red down in the waking world, before she’s forced to fight for her life in her dreams…

"Waking Dream" is the exciting fifth novel in the "Dreams" series.


Excerpt from Waking Dream (newest book, coming next week):

As Sara watches herself, she suddenly feels a cold breeze, as though one of the windows was open. But they’re all closed; there’s nowhere for the breeze to have come from. And then Sara turns away from herself and her husband and she sees it – sees her.

Only for an instant, and only from the back. The driver’s door is already open, and a woman – a woman in a red dress, with long black hair falling down just past her shoulders – is out of the car and running away…


As my eyes open, I’m looking at the door very intently. Why? What am I expecting to see? It’s still closed, the chair is still wedged there…

It was a car door. My car door. I was dreaming, and – she was there. That woman. The same one I saw a few months ago in Brian’s dream. The woman who can do what I can do. I let myself forget about it. Brian and I talked about it, and we convinced ourselves that I must have misunderstood what I saw, or something.

Not this time. I know for sure now. I felt a draft, as though a window had opened. Every time Lizzie or my mother came into my dreams, I felt an invisible door opening. They go through the door, this woman climbs in through the window. It makes perfect sense. And she just appeared, the way I – usually – just appear. And the moment she realized she wasn’t alone in Brian’s dream, she ran for it.

I have to tell Brian. It’s – God, it has to be someone he knows. That’s how it works for me. We have to figure out who, and then – what?

I don’t have the slightest idea.


J.J. (James) DiBenedetto was born in Yonkers, New York. He attended Case Western Reserve University, where as his classmates can attest, he was a complete nerd. Very little has changed since then.

He currently lives in Arlington, Virginia with his beautiful wife and their cat (who has thoroughly trained them both). When he's not writing, James works in the direct marketing field, enjoys the opera, photography and the New York Giants, among other interests.


Read about James’ writing: www.writingdreams.net

Buy his books: amazon.com or smashwords


Book Feature-Finding My Way Back by Fran Veal

8/19/2013 , , 0 Comments

I have another wonderful book feature for you guys. Check it out!



Three weeks ago I walked in while my parents were being murdered. I escaped, but I need to put my life back together again. There's just one problem - I don't know where to begin.

My parents weren't who I thought they were.
My best friend isn't who I thought he was.
The killer isn't who I thought he was.
And scariest of all, I'm not who I thought I was.



Liz knew she needed to tell Hannah soon. She’d hoped she’d be able to confirm her belief about the island first. Charles argued that they needed to tell Hannah everything before they excavated. Just in case.

"All right," she finally agreed, closing the box and turning the tumblers to lock it. "We’ll talk to Hannah about it tomorrow."

As she was turning the last of the tumblers, the doorbell rang, and Charles went to answer it.

"Yes?" she heard her husband ask.

"Hello, Charles," a man’s voice spoke. "Where’s your wife?"

Liz felt her knees grow weak. The man’s voice was malicious. Cruel.

Her intuition told her what was happening. Somehow, the Others had learned what she’d found, and they’d sent someone to get the location.

She had to hide the box. She ran out to the garage, looking around frantically, her eyes falling on a spot that might work. She shoved the box inside, and then ran back in the house to help her husband. As her foot crossed the threshold of the kitchen, she heard a shot. She grabbed the door jamb and covered her mouth to stifle the sound of her scream. She heard a thud. Charles…

Footsteps headed toward the kitchen, and she looked wildly around the room for any kind of weapon. The man walked in, brandishing a knife before she could find one.

"Hello, Liz. I believe you have something I want."

Liz sank to the floor, her body wracked with sobs.

I’m so sorry, Hannah.



Author Bio:

Fran Veal fell in love with the book Little Women in the third grade, and that was the spark that ignited her desire to write. If Jo could write then she felt she could, too. Her first attempt at writing stories was in the fifth grade when she began writing and drawing a cartoon for her friends. The drawing, to be honest, was terrible, but the stories must have been pretty decent because a friend recently informed her she'd kept some of them because "she always knew Fran would be a writer someday." Fran graduated to writing romance in ninth grade, which was more interesting and, no, there were no pictures (much to the readers' relief).

It wasn’t until Fran had a teen daughter of her own that she actually began writing again. Finding My Escape was her debut novel. The sequel, Finding My Way Back will be released August 23, 2013 with the third and final book in the series coming out in early 2014. She’s also working on a comedy geared more toward adults, Five Strikes, with fellow writer, Bryden Lloyd.

Fran currently resides in the beautiful city of Murfreesboro, TN with her husband of twenty-seven years, fifteen year old daughter, and one extremely snarky cat.





Characters In The Beyond The Eyes Trilogy

For those of you who have been reading my YA paranormal trilogy, here are some of the characters in the books. For those of you who haven’t read it, this will give you an idea of what the characters are like, and of course I hope you will read them. :) Btw, if you click on the picture you can see and read them better. 

Happy Friday!



Book Feature & Giveaway

Hey, you guys! I have a book feature & giveaway going on at this website. Win swag and free ebooks! Check it out!




Book Review on Mangled Hearts by Felicia Tatum

When I discovered Felicia was writing a contemporary romance, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book and read it. It’s about heartache, love, and addiction.

The main character Francesca Taymon is a young Worker’s Compensation lawyer who has been doing the same entry level cases for three years at J&B Law Firm. She hates her job and feels the men there treat her like an intern. She wants to be challenged and take on higher ended cases. She gets her chance when her boss Mr. Phillips assigns her a special one. He wants her to defend his friend’s son who was involved in a bar fight, and the owner of the bar wants to press charges. All she needs to do is review the client’s record and make sure he doesn’t serve jail time.

This is the break Francesca has been waiting for in her career, and inwardly she’s elated. But when Mr. Phillip’s mentions whom she’ll be defending, her heart sinks. She’ll be defending the man who stole her heart years ago, the one who was involved in the tragic accident of her beloved sister and never once told Francesca the whole story about what really happened on that fateful night. She still has nightmares about it, and now she’s going to be his lawyer. But despite the knot in her stomach and the war raging in her heart, she decides to conduct herself in the most professional manner she can muster. This new case is her chance to shine, to show these men at the law firm what she can do, so she accepts the job.

Cade Kelling gets a call from his Pops who tells him he hired a female lawyer for him and this is the last time he’s going to bail him out. Cade is reckless, irresponsible, and has been an alcoholic since the age of thirteen. His Pops has cleaned up Cade’s messes far too long. This is the last straw. Cade agrees to meet this lawyer, but is nonchalant about the whole deal and finds his Pops rather annoying, wishing he'll get off his back. But then the devious side of Cade thinks if this lawyer is hot, he can charm her into his bed.

When Cade enters Francesca’s office, his mouth drops. Never in a million years did Cade ever thought the person who captured his heart years ago would be defending him in court. He has made a lot of mistakes in his life but hurting Francesca trumps all of them. He’s determined to win her heart back.

Felicia did an excellent job portraying Cade’s alcoholism and the common demeanor most addicts have associated with this debilitating problem. It’s sad. Felicia captured it so well, though, that at one point in this story a lump formed in my throat. I’ve personally had to deal with family members in Cade’s situation, so I can totally relate to this book. 

Mangled Hearts is a wonderful read. I love this book and can’t wait for the next one to come out. I highly recommend it.


Intentional by MK Harkins Book Blitz

Hey, you guys! Here is another book to check out.


I know this has to stop. Something has to give. A person cannot die of a broken heart. Believe me, I know. I’ve been waiting—and it’s just not happening.

What would you do in the face of the ultimate betrayal? This is the question facing the characters in MK Harkins’s riveting debut novel, Intentional. They will soon learn, however, that when love is involved, nothing is ever quite as it seems.

Mattie and Jeremy are engaged to be married and looking forward to a lifetime of love. It all crumbles away, however, when Mattie comes across evidence of a massive betrayal. Mattie flees to Washington in an attempt to start a new life and meets Cade, a tattooed engineer by day and lead singer in a rock band by night. Their mutual attraction inflames Mattie, even as her heart still aches for her former fiancé. Just when it appears that Mattie may have found another stab at happiness, her past comes rushing back. As events unfold, it becomes clear to Mattie that things in her past may not have been quite what they seemed. Will Mattie ever learn the truth behind what really happened? And if she does, could it mean a new beginning with Jeremy, or will it be too late?

Readers will instantly be swept up in the saga of love and heartbreak that unfolds. Offering a rarely-before-seen glimpse into the heart and mind of a romantic villain, audiences will find a welcome reprieve from the typical romance novel.


He must have gone to some trouble to track me down "You pretty much get what you want, don't you?"

He looks at me with a sheepish grin. "Yes, I do."

I feel my heart start to accelerate. Darn this attraction. I love a man with confidence.

Our bodies are touching; I can feel his warmth through our clothes.  Jeremy has both of his hands on my face as our kiss becomes deeper, almost desperate. He grasps my hair tie, pulls it free, and starts to run his hands through my hair.  His warm, moist lips move to kiss the base of my neck as he inhales deeply.  I move closer - I can't get close enough. Everywhere he touches me, it feels as if my skin is going to burst into flames. I have never been kissed like this.

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17857940-intentional


Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7067079.MK_Harkins

Website: http://mkharkins.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mk.harkins?hc_location=stream

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mk_harkins

Buy Links:



Print (Amazon):


Ten things I didn't know about self-publishing:

I will admit,I knew absolutely zero (nothing!) about self publishing when I started this adventure :) I will narrow it down to ten.

1.) It was easier than I thought. I googled my way to Createspace

2.) Createspace is like a well-oiled machine. I was assigned a publishing consultant, John

Schuster (great publisher name!) he organized all my orders with the various departments. If I had a question, he would answer within 24 hours.

3.) I was able to accomplish everything I needed at CreateSpace (I started with an editorial evaluation, moved to choosing a book cover and ended with a copyedit)

4.) When you self publish, there is a lot of self promotion involved. I joined twitter, Goodreads and made an author facebook page.

5.) Everyone wants to be your friend on facebook!

6.) I've met some wonderful authors and bloggersthrough the social media (mostly facebook)

7.) Promoting is hard work! It's fun, but very time consuming.

8.) There are a lot of people who can help, but the challenge is to find them.

9.) Other authors really want you to succeed. I don't sense any competition from the Indie authors at all. They sincerely want to help.

10.) I am surprised that I would have so much fun. I've met wonderful, inspiring people - who I believe will be life long friends. This has been such a positive experience I would recommend it to anyone who loves/wants to write.

Author Bio:

I have always been a voracious reader. After hitting a dry spell of reading material, I decided to write the kind of book I would like to read. This resulted in the creation of my debut novel, Intentional, with a sequel already in the works.

When I’m not writing novels, I enjoy traveling the world, rain, watching movies and cooking. I also run my own business in my current hometown of Mercer Island, Washington.

























Book Feature on Remembering Love by Nadine Christian

8/06/2013 , , 0 Comments

Hi, you guys! I have another book feature to share with you. Check it out.


When all is lost, how do you remember love?

When her beloved foster parents pass away, Holly discovers a past both shocking and heartbreaking: the murder/suicide of her biological parents on the South Pacific island of Pitcairn, famous for the HMAV Bounty mutineers. Traveling to a home she does not remember, Holly reconnects with long-lost childhood friend Jack. An old friendship quickly becomes more . . . until a dark secret is uncovered.

Will joyous love remembered become heartbreak? Can she find out the truth before someone else is hurt?

Author Bio:

Nadine Christian lives on Pitcairn Island, a small isle in the middle of the South Pacific, with her husband, five children, four goats, two cats and thirty chickens. With it’s rich maritime history, Pitcairn’s romantic past comes alive in her novels, capturing the taste of life on an isolated tropical island, miles from the rush and bustle of normal city life.








Book Review on One By One by Yawatta Hosby

I was happy to receive a signed copy of One By One by Yawatta and promised to give an honest review.

Okay, let me tell ya, if you’re into movies like Scream, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street, you’re going to dig this book. I grew up watching those movies, so when I read this book, it took me back to my teenage years. I was suddenly fourteen, sitting in the dark with my friends on a weekend night, watching a horror movie. I treasure those times and couldn’t help feel nostalgic as I was reading this book.

One By One is about Rae and her older brother Kenan. Years ago their parents were brutally murdered at their cabin deep in the woods in Virginia. They saw the whole thing and since then it haunts their waking hours. Kenan talks Rae into going back there to meet a guy who wants to buy the cabin. At first she objects, but then finally agrees to go. Kenan tries to make it a fun trip for Rae by inviting a group of their friends along. Rae’s best friend Marissa, though, picks up a stranger and invites him along. His name is Adam. Pretty boy. Mr. Zipadeedoo. Nobody is pleased about it, but nevertheless, they allow him to tag along.

What I really like about this book is the human psychology Yawatta implemented into this story. She skillfully shows how each character reacts mentally and physically when people begin to die. Paranoia quickly sets in among the group when they discover a body. At first they point their fingers at Adam, but not too long after that, doubt seeps through their minds. Friendships crack as they become wary of each other, thinking one of them can be the killer.

My favorite characters in this story are Rae and Logan. Rae may be a broken shell of a person, which is totally understandable considering her trauma years ago–watching helplessly as both her parents were mercilessly slain, and she was raped. I don’t think anybody can ever recover from something that horrific. But regardless of what happened to her, she’s a kick ass person. And Logan . . . well, he’s a sweet guy. He’s somebody you’d crow about if he were your boyfriend.

Rae’s brother Kenan is very protective over Rae. He knows how mentally delicate she is and does his best to take care of her. I warmed up to him straight away because I always wanted a brother and thought he was so sweet and caring to Rae. But when he and his girlfriend Selma get into an argument, I quickly changed my mind about him. I thought he could have handled their lovers spat better.

Anyway, Yawatta keeps you guessing on whom the killer is.

Is it Adam, the metrosexual guy who would melt in the rain?

Is it somebody lurking in their neck of the woods?

Or is it one of them?

You’re just going to have to read One By One to find out.

I would recommend this book to anybody who is into this type of story.




Hotter Than Hot Cover Reveal

8/02/2013 , 4 Comments

Hotter Than Hot by Milly Silver

Maggie Lee is Space Cadet 69. She begged for a different number. But no can do. She's stuck with a 69 on her forehead, until she's vaporised. That pretty much sums up Maggie's life.

Stuck in a boring job counting tins of meatballs. Stuck on the dullest space station in the universe, anzarote. And stuck with no hope of achieving her dream of flying scout ships. Enter hot guy Hunter in his blinged-up spaceship.Things start to get unstuck for Maggie real fast.

Maggie needs to outwit evil Lord Zagon who wants to kill her for her cherished precognition helmet, find a rare space rock to save her family from suspended animation and flee from giddy space pirates wanting to pimp out her friends to the nearest aliens. Hunter being a sexy space god isn't exactly helping Maggie's concentration levels either.

Can Maggie pull it off? If she doesn't, her family will be frozen forever
and Lord Zagon will rule the universe. Then she'll definitely never
get to fly scout ships.

*HOTTER THAN HOT is a NA romantic comedy. It's a light, fast read that will
keep you laughing all the way through. The perfect beach read!

Author Bio:

Milly Silver is the British author of the Young Adult series INTO THE DARK SERIES (#1-4), and NA romantic comedy, HOTTER THAN HOT.

Milly Silver lives with her family in Cheshire, in the UK. Silver is currently writing her next series, and eating her own body weight in passion fruit sorbet.




Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Milly-Silver/e/B00A983S3Y/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Twitter: @MsHappyUK



Also by Milly Silver - Into the Dark parts 1-4 Available from Amazon 


Book Feature-Moragh Holly’s Ghost by Maggie Tideswell

8/01/2013 , 2 Comments

Today I’m featuring Maggie Tideswell’s book Moragh Holly’s Ghost. This story btw sounds good. I read the excerpt and enjoyed it. I think this will be another book added to my TRB list.

A marriage of convenience, helpful fey friends, hidden agendas, a custody battle that cannot be won and a haunting - could love blossom?

Set in the beautiful wine lands of the southern Cape in South Africa, strange things start happening from the moment Holly accepted Joshua's offer of marriage.




Without Love

Nothing manifests as it was intended

Without Love

Energies distort and warp the world

And it becomes a treacherous place


Susan Kirk

Moonlight slanted across the floor, a gentle breeze lifting the gossamer curtain. Shadows moved across the wall. The sleeper moaned and turned, muttering, the bedding shifting to the floor. Down the hall, a few mumbled words as if in reply, and then silence again. The house sighed and creaked as it settled for the night.

A dog barked at shadows down the street–a melancholy sound–joined by another bored canine further away. An owl hooted in the tree outside the open window, its heart-shaped face turning to survey the night before it swooped soundlessly into another dimension. The sounds might have belonged to another world, because the sleepers didn’t hear.

Somebody heard, though, crouched in the swirling mist, careful not to disturb the shadows on the wall. Breath rasped in the still of the night, power in the plume.

This is a place that is not a place,
at a time that is not a time

Please, release me from the dark

and let me rest in the light!

The clock in the hall ticked down the minutes to midnight. Something scratched at the glass in the window frames, the breeze sighing around the corners, piling dead leaves into a doorway.

The mask–a hideous ethnic thing hanging against the landing wall–fell from its hook and clattered down the stairs. Within moments, they were at the top of the stairs, three wispy white figures in the moonlight.

"Something is about to happen," one of them said, a hand to her throat.

"A big change is coming," another agreed, grasping for a hand to hold on to.

"We have to prepare," the third one added, turning into the circle of protection.

Part One

The Beginning


The most important thing

one can take anywhere,

is an open mind.


Friday, September 18

Dark Moon in Virgo

Ending relationships – contact with the dead

Attention to detail to make life better

Holly slammed the door, and immediately wished she hadn’t. They surrounded her before the reverberation died down. They should only start chanting ‘Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble’ for the picture to be complete–and she was being a bitch. It wasn’t their fault she had a bastard for an ex.

"Same old story." She flung her bag onto the couch and fisted her hands in her hair as she sank to the padded seat. "What am I going to do?" she wailed. "Why is he doing this to me?"

Nina sat down next to her, wrapping her arm around Holly’s shoulder. "It’s her, love, not Donald. I’m sure it’s that person he married who's putting him up to it. But you’re so right; they can’t be allowed to do this to you anymore. Come into the kitchen. Let’s have a glass of wine and put our thinking caps on."

"Yes, we’ll make a plan. You have to fight fire with fire, sweetie." Susan got hold of Holly’s wrist and pulled her to her feet. "Nina’s right; they can’t be allowed to get away with this any longer."

"You know," Blair said over her shoulder, leading the way to the kitchen, "it’s because you’re alone that he thinks he can walk all over you as he pleases. If you had a man to look out for you, he wouldn’t dare."

"I don’t want a man," Holly sobbed, allowing Susan to push her down into a chair by the table. "Men are nothing but trouble." She took no notice of the clinking glasses or the glugging as they were being filled. She didn’t want any stupid wine. She wanted her children.

Chairs scraped the floor when the other three sat down, the silence that followed deafening. Holly looked up at them through the blur of her tears. A creepy feeling started between her shoulder blades and shivered down her spine. The three of them had the same soft little smile around their lips. "What?" she snapped. She was missing something here. "What?" she repeated.

"That’s it, isn't it," Susan said.

"Fight him at his own game," Blair agreed.

"You have to get married again," Nina concluded.

Holly’s mouth fell open. "What? Are you bonkers? I just said I don’t want another man in my life. Get married–that’s your solution to my problem?" Holly glanced between them. The soft smiles had morphed into open grins, and they nodded vigorously in unison. "And who, pray tell, shall I marry?" Shock had dried her tears, leaving mascara smudges under her eyes.

Blair tapped a long scarlet nail against her nose. "Um, you must know somebody, a friend, anybody you could persuade to help you out?"

"Help me out? By marrying me? One doesn’t get married as a favor, Blair. And you know very well that I haven’t got a social life I haven’t met anyone new. Our friends are now Donald and Gwen’s friends. And at work there’s nobody." She flung herself sideways in her chair. "God, why am I even discussing this? I’m not getting married and that’s that," she ended with a gulp of wine for emphasis.

Three pairs of eyes met they were running with the idea. Dammit, she was a divorced mother of two, not their kid sister. None of them had been married before, so what right did they have to
push her into it again?

"We could advertise," Blair shrugged.

Correction: not any old marriage, but marriage to a complete stranger. It happened to every second girl. "Are you crazy?" Holly gulped, but Susan’s hand on her arm interrupted the tirade she was about to launch into. "What?" Holly snapped at her. They could not be serious.

"Let’s just work this through, Holly. What have you got to lose? As it is, Donald’s not letting you see the boys. Being married again would give you an edge that you don’t have now. If you had a brother, or if your father was still alive, they could have taken Donald on, mano a mano, forced him to be reasonable. Between the three of us, we couldn’t do it."

"That’s a fact. Donald won’t listen to you, not even to Heather. There’s nobody who could make him see sense, except a court of law–for which I don’t exactly have the money right now. I might as well hire a hit-man," Holly muttered.

"Yes, and have the kids go into care when you get the chair," Blair said, delicately choosing a pickle from the dish Susan had put on the table. "It was a stupid joke, okay? Jeez."

"Holly, look, this could really work," Susan said. "All you need is an open mind. Just listen for a moment. If we put a very small, discrete advert in the paper, run it only once, and you get no response, you would’ve lost nothing. Then we go to plan B."

"Why can't we go straight to plan B?" Holly mumbled.

She might as well have saved her breath, for Nina continued, "If somebody responds to it, you play along and as soon as Donald comes to his senses, you take off and have the marriage annulled. You walk away with what you wanted, and the man walks away all the richer for having known you."

Holly leaned her elbows on the table. "If–and I must say it’s a big if some poor fool responded to an advert like that, don’t you think he might be entitled to a proper marriage? Which means no annulment."

"Holly, you’re not listening. He won’t expect anything from you if he knew from the beginning that it would be a virgin marriage."

"Oh, get real, will you, Blair. What man would agree to an arrangement like that? What would be in it for him?" Holly drained her glass and got to her feet. "I’m not even going to discuss this any further. I’m not getting married again, except for love, which makes it highly unlikely, because there’s no such thing as love. Love is only another word for stupidity and a bunch of raging hormones. Ask me, I know. Now you have to excuse me. I’m going to bed and don’t even try to tell me it’s too early. I don’t care."

 Nicole sat up and reached for her blouse. Bits of straw clung to her tousled red hair. She smiled down at the man stretched beside her, running her nails over his ribs and solid six-pack. When his muscles contracted, she rolled to her feet, shaking the blouse, in no hurry to put it on. He was taking her in–she felt his eyes on her.

She was proud of her body, every inch of her firm and pampered, and she liked showing herself off to him. He appreciated her.

Ned pushed up in the straw, leaning back on one elbow to watch her. "When can I see you again?" His voice was husky with the aftermath of passion.

Pulling her shirt over her head was the natural end to the tryst. "Don’t be greedy. You know what would happen if Daddy found out about us." Her mind was already on the visitor she was expecting later.

Ned reached for her hand and tried to pull her back down beside him, but she wasn’t in the mood anymore. "Ne-ed. Come on, let me go. Joshua is coming," she whined. He instantly let her go. Nicole stumbled away, and had to steady herself on a post. Fine bit of explaining it would take if she were to fall out of the hayloft with her backside bare.

Ned knew she was going to marry Joshua someday. He didn’t have to get childish every time Joshua's name was mentioned. They could play, as long as nobody knew about it. It meant nothing. She pulled her jeans over her hips and flung her slip-ons to the floor below. Without looking at him, she started down the ladder.

Ned rolled to the edge of the loft, supporting his torso on his elbows, his hands dangling over the edge. Halfway down the ladder, Nicole froze when he said, "What if I got you pregnant?" A soft smile curved his lips. He was devastatingly attractive. More’s the pity he was a nobody.

She didn’t return his smile. "Have no fear, Ned, I wasn’t born yesterday. You would never be master here," she ground through her teeth and continued down the ladder, out of the barn. Trust a man to try and make something sweet and temporary a problem. Halfway across the yard, she stopped, a crease pulling her brows together.

No, surely not.

She broke into a run and hit the kitchen steps at full speed. The housekeeper turned from the stove when Nicole dashed past her and cringed when the bedroom door slammed.

 Gwen cuddled into Donald’s side and trailed her finger along the line of his jaw. He turned his head away and got up off the couch. Gwen collapsed against the padding, sighing heavily. She had to do something, and fast. Everything was going wrong. "Darling, you shouldn't upset yourself. It was her own fault. Why can’t she just move on with her life, and leave us alone?"

Donald splashed several fingers of whiskey into a glass without offering her any. He said nothing. Gwen got up and wrapped her arms around his waist, pressing her cheek between his shoulder-blades. "Let’s go to bed, my love. I could make you forget her pitiful face," she coaxed.

Donald flung the whiskey down his throat, and untangled her arms to face her. "She isn’t pitiful, Gwen. She loves her children, and this is hurting her more than any mother deserves to be hurt."

"Of course she deserves it. She deserves it for boring you to tears. You said it yourself if she had been a better wife to you, your eye would never have strayed. You and I, on the other hand, were made for each other deny that if you can. We belong together."

Donald turned back to the decanter. "There’s more to marriage than sex, Gwen." He poured another liberal drink and took it to the French windows to stare out over the darkening garden.

"What are you saying? That I don’t do it for you anymore? Do you want her back?" Gwen’s voice rose steadily. She couldn’t help herself. Her world was seriously cracking, and she would not have it crashing around her ears.

"No, Gwen, that wasn’t what I said. I just don’t feel right about what we’re doing to Holly. I don’t see why we couldn’t just carry on the way we were in the beginning." Donald faced her with the glass in his hand. "I don’t want to hurt her anymore, that’s all, and keeping the kids from her, hurt the kids as well and it bothers me a lot."

Gwen smiled, tracing his lips with a forefinger. "Are you sure that’s all? We could let her see the boys next week, if it will make you feel better. Could we forget about her now?"

Donald returned her smile. "I’m sure it would be all right. No last-minute backing out, though. Let’s not make an issue of this. Holly should see the kids regularly. Then I’m sure she would find someone else and leave us alone."

Gwen’s smile slipped when a shadow passed over his eyes.
She knew it. He didn’t want Holly to find somebody else. She couldn’t take the risk of Donald seeing Holly every second week, however briefly. It was just too dangerous. It was two years since the divorce, and nearly three since she’d met Donald. The next six months were the most dangerous, when her work would finally have no more effect and Donald’s true feelings would out.
Let him believe Holly would come for the kids soon. Next weekend was a long way off, and a lot could happen before then. For now, a lesson seemed to be in order.

"I don’t suppose you feel up to making love to me now, being in the mood you’re in. I’m going to read in bed. The spare room is made up. G’night." She sashayed out of the room.

By the time she reached the bedroom, Gwen had worked up a good head of steam. This was a ridiculous situation and she would not allow it to continue for a moment longer. Holly was Donald’s unfortunate past and it was time they both realized that Gwen was not a woman to be trifled with. What could she do to snap the bond between Holly and Donald once and for all? Bad marriage indeed. A bad marriage did not have lingering affection in its wake.

Gwen stamped her foot before flinging herself across the bed. A grin stretched her mouth when a thought jumped into her head. Why hadn’t she realized it before? The playing field had changed. Before, she had aimed the energies at Donald, but the time had come to go for the jugular a psychic attack on Holly, the pathetic creature. That the other woman was at an emotional low did not elicit sympathy from Gwen. Instead she recognized pathways that could only aid her new cause.

Gwen smiled. This was something she had never attempted before and the challenge sent a thrill through her body. She had to start right away. Slipping her dressing gown around her shoulders, Gwen tiptoed past the lounge, barely glancing at Donald on the couch, nursing yet another whiskey.

 In her bathroom, Nicole flung the medicine cabinet open with such violence that the top hinge ripped out of the wood. She didn’t notice the door hanging drunkenly against the wall. Without touching it, she stared at the strip of Dianne and the evidence that she’d forgotten to take the pill for the past week. Her period wasn’t due for another two weeks. She was ovulating and they hadn’t used a condom. Oh Lord, no, Ned might get his wish through her own stupidity after all.

There was a knock on her door, and when she came out of the bathroom, pale-faced and shaky, her father filled her room. "Nicole, what’s going on with you? Martha told me about your unladylike run through the house. What’s eating you now, girl?"

"Daddy, I’m so angry, I could spit," Nicole said. Tears were close, but in this instance, it would not have the effect she wanted. Her eyelids batted rapidly. Her father’s temper didn’t scare her, but being pregnant did.

Magnus wrapped his arms around his daughter. "I can see you’re upset about something, baby. You know you could tell Daddy anything, don’t you? How I can help?"

Nicole pushed herself away. She was a grown woman, yet he treated her like a toddler. "No, I just have to deal with this myself, Daddy."

"Nicole, tell me," her father thundered.

"You can’t help, Daddy. It’s just boys. Some push their luck more than others would dare. I know I shouldn’t get upset–it’s harmless–but sometimes I just can’t help getting mad. Maybe I should go back to town for a while. I think I’ve outgrown farm life."

"Nicole, this is no ordinary farm–it’s a wine estate and your inheritance. We were so pleased when you moved back home. Mother will be heartbroken if you leave again so soon. Tell me who bothers you and he won’t be here in the morning. I want an answer now."

Nicole took a deep breath. He was right–it’s only been a month since she came home and only because she’d noticed Ned in the lab the weekend before. It hadn’t been difficult to seduce him. She hadn’t met a man yet who could resist her for long. Without Ned, Willowgrove would lose its appeal again. Was she ready to see the back of him?

Yes, dammit. The audacity of the man to get her possibly pregnant was enough reason to get rid of him, and fast. "Daddy, I know I’m being silly, but it’s that new man in the lab, Ned somebodyortheother. He gives me the creeps. He has no respect. I should go to the city until he’s moved on. I wouldn’t imagine his type to stay in one place long." She sniffed loudly. She couldn’t be pregnant. Pregnancy ended a woman’s life and ruined her figure forever.

"I will not allow anybody, least of all somebody I employ, to drive my only daughter from her home." Magnus turned for the door. "I’ll have a word with him."

Nicole stared at the door, listening to her father’s receding footsteps. This was dangerous. Ned might spill the beans. Would her father believe him over her? She was going to have to be extra nice to Joshua–it’s been too long.

 Donald saw Gwen go past. He knew when he was being manipulated, but though he very much needed to make love with Gwen tonight, a man had his pride. It was wrong what she was forcing him to do to Holly. She had no reason to resent Holly, and he had to battle his guilt alone.

He poured again and sat down, his legs stretched before him, one arm draped over the back of the couch. He shouldn’t have discussed the details of his first marriage with Gwen, but in the beginning, it’d been so easy to open up to her, and he’d wanted no secrets between them. But mostly he’d needed a vent, to soothe the guilt by having somebody agree with him. He’d told Gwen far more than he’d intended to.

He took a deep sip of whiskey, relishing the heat in his throat. If he was to be completely honest with himself, he had to admit that his dissatisfaction with life in general was largely due to regret –he regretted replacing Holly with Gwen. Maybe an apology–and honesty–could have made the difference at the time. Holly would’ve forgiven his indiscretion, but instead he’d gone and married his indiscretion. Mature, yes, that was the way. Now he sat with the regret.

This evening, when she’d stood at the door, the urge to take her into his arms had been so strong, he had to hang on to the doorpost to stop himself. She’d looked so tiny and vulnerable and fragile and gorgeous beyond belief, her little pointed chin quivering with distress, tears raining down her face. His heart had swelled with love, and more than he could give her with Gwen hovering around them. Holly was his wife, dammit. He didn’t want her to be with someone else.

He’d made a big mistake, and the only way to fix it, was drastic action. Gwen had to go. They could be a family again. They could be as happy as they’d been before Gwen had wormed her way between them. They could have counseling, therapy, anything, as long as Holly was back where she belonged. He just didn’t love Gwen enough to sacrifice everything for her.

 Magnus stomped out the house. On the veranda he lit a cigarette. This could be a serious situation, if what Nicole said was true, and it could escalate if he didn’t handle it correctly. Ned was a good worker, educated. Boys will be boys, but Nicole was his daughter. He would not have her at risk of the workers’ lusts running amok. He needed to make an example. A pity it was Ned she’d pointed out. He would get to the bottom of this, before he decided what to do.

The butt landed in nearby shrubs. He was crossing the yard when Joshua came galloping into it. Magnus turned and waited for the young man to dismount. "I need to speak to you, son."

"Sure. What's on your mind, sir?"

"I was wondering what your intentions were. I think Nicole’s had enough time to play, don't you? It’s time she was married. A couple of kids would settle her down."

"I agree, sir, but Nicole is stalling. If it were up to me, we’d have those kids by now. She just won't commit. I’ve started to think that she doesn’t want to marry me at all."

"You’re cynical, and I can’t say I blame you." Magnus clasped Joshua's shoulder. "Maybe the time has come for drastic action. I’m sure you could think of something. She’s talking of going back to her place in the Cape Town. I don’t want that. Whatever you decide to do, you know you have my full support, my boy. Just marry the girl as soon as possible. You’d better go in now; she’ll be waiting for you." Magnus felt Joshua’s eyes on his back as he walked in the direction of the staff quarters.

Ned swung the door wide. "Sir?"

"Relax, man." Magnus lowered himself into a chair. It was comfortable accommodation he provided for the people who worked in his winery. But being this far from town and any action, he well understood the restlessness. Ned, wearing only a pair of boxer shorts, planted his feet and crossed his arms. Muscles bulged under his tan. "Ned, son, I’ll come straight to the point. My daughter has lodged a complaint against you. Dammit man, she is my daughter, and she is promised."

"Excuse me, sir, but what exactly was her complaint?"

Magnus’ brow lifted. "That you behave inappropriately towards her."

"My behavior’s inappropriate? Anything specific? I don’t recall anything Ms. Jones could complain about." Frowning, Ned sat on the edge of a chair facing Magnus, eyes steady on his employer's. "I take it you want me to go. Would first light be soon enough?"

Magnus held the young man’s eyes. They didn’t waver. "Aren’t you going to say anything in your defense?"

"What could I say, sir? With respect, it would be my word against hers, and we both know whom you’d believe."

Magnus eyed the young man thoughtfully. The man rose in his esteem for not trying to coerce anything out of him in return for his silence. "First light would be fine. I couldn’t throw a man out in the dark. It’s for the best, though I am sorry to lose you. Good men willing to tolerate the isolation are hard to find."

 Nicole sauntered the length of the porch to where Joshua leaned against the railing. She was beautiful–sultry, with just the right amount of decadence to hold a man’s attention. But time was marching on, and soon she wouldn’t be the young belle anymore. Already fine lines gathered at the corners of her eyes and the shadowy light on the porch accentuated the brackets that ran from her nose to her mouth–all evidence of years of hard play. Even the color of her hair was more vibrant than it used to be. Nicole was not going to age gracefully.

"Hello, Joshua," she purred, kissing him on the lips. Her body touched his lightly, and then she was gone, sitting down in one of the chairs and crossing her legs. "Come sit down. Martha is bringing the drinks."

Joshua perched on the edge of the chair facing hers. What was wrong with him? He knew how old Nicole was, and a few lines weren’t important. Yet a moment ago, when she’d first flung the
screen door wide, her flaws had been all he could see. The housekeeper appeared to interrupt his thoughts.

"Nicole," he said after a long sip of beer, "I’m not staying long tonight."

"Aw, Joshua, why?" Nicole pouted prettily, but Joshua wasn’t in the mood for her games. Being in her presence oppressed him tonight and he couldn’t wait to be away.

"I want to know two things from you. Firstly, I would like to know if you have any intention of marrying me at all," he held up a hand when she tried to interrupt. "And secondly, I’d like to know when you foresee that happy event taking place."

"Joshua, what kind of questions is those? Aren’t we engaged to be married?" She jumped to her feet. "You know, we never do anything together anymore. There’s just this animosity between us about getting married, and I’m sick of it. Why are you pushing so hard? Why don’t you let it happen when it is meant to?"

Joshua dumped his glass on the table and got to his feet. "When it is meant to? Could you give me an indication as to the timeframe we’re looking at? I’m sick of this waiting game while you play the social butterfly. I feel side-lined. Neither of us is getting any younger, Nicole."

Nicole stamped her foot. "That does it; I’m going to live in Cape Town again. This small-mindedness in the wilderness is getting me down. You shall have to wait until I’m bloody good and ready to get married." She spun on her heel and stormed into the house. Joshua sighed from the depth of his soul.

 Heather turned the third card over and placed it to the right of the two crossed cards. Her hand hovered over the deck but didn’t turn the next card. She stared at the three cards on the table. There was a disturbance in her soul, and she hoped to get an answer from the cards. They have never failed her before.

The first card was The Lovers. It was high time Holly found somebody to love. She would have to do a reading for him, to see if he was worthy of her Holly, but for the moment Heather knew that a new man in her sister’s life was not what was bothering her. The second card had followed quickly.

The Empress. A pregnancy? Was Holly pregnant? The card was reversed. Did this mean the pregnancy cannot come to its natural conclusion? Yes, but it wasn’t Holly who was pregnant. A frown pulled Heather’s brows together. A pregnancy, not Holly’s, that was going to affect Holly in some way. The cards will reveal the significance.

Heather stared at the third card. The High Priestess told her exactly that, that the truth will be revealed. Heather’s hand hovered over the card to feel its vibrations. The card had fallen in the position of the distant past, which means that something mysterious is at work in Holly’s life.

 Gwen stood for a moment in the absolute dark inside her private domain. It enveloped her like a lover’s embrace. She was going to need all the help she could get in this, and the only help available to her was the Book of Shadows. She lit the sconces and reached for the thick leather-bound grimoire on the bookshelf and bit her lip. She was not comfortable doing this, but if she wanted to save her marriage, there was no other way she could see. Balancing the book on its spine, her hands flat against the front and back covers, she licked her lips and raised her eyes to the ceiling, imploring help from the Mother. She doubted that guidance would be forthcoming. What she was about to attempt was sinister.

Returning her attention to the book, concentrating hard on her purpose, she snatched her hands away and allowed the book to fall open, well-warn pages fluttering before settling down. The Book would tell her what to do. Gwen leaned forward over the open pages. The candles cast shifting light. The book had fallen open on the page describing a rather interesting ritual. Yes, that was what she needed to do, to remove the negativity Holly brought into her life and marriage, and to break the bond between Donald and his ex-wife. This was for a good cause Gwen’s happiness.

Holly wouldn’t come to any harm, not lastingly anyway. As soon as her effect on Donald was broken, her silly life could continue as before, though without Donald and the boys.

Gwen’s finger ran down the page as she read through the ritual to see what she needed.

 Heather turned the fourth, fifth and sixth cards over in quick succession, placing them below, above and to the right of the spread. Her hair blew off her face and she sucked her breath in sharply.

The Moon in the fourth position confirmed that something hidden was at work, something potentially dangerous to her sister. The man Holly loved? No, instinct told Heather that it was more than that, deeper, directed from afar, like a restless spirit in the night.

The Two of Cups had fallen in the best outcome position, reassuring Heather that this new relationship was exactly what her sister needed. The new man was going to be good for Holly. As soon as she saw her sister, Heather was going to have to demand an introduction. But in the meantime, she would not worry about him there were other forces at work in Holly’s life that commanded immediate attention.

Death in the position of the immediate future confirmed that. The Death card predicted major change coming and very soon, within a week or so. Oh why was Holly so stubborn? Why did she do this hiding from her sister thing whenever she needed Heather the most?

Heather breathed deeply through her nose. There were several ways to interpret the cards, depending on the positions in which they were drawn and in relation to each other, and she would not get a clear meaning until she had all of them in front of her. She could not even begin to know what action was needed before she understood the whole problem. If only Holly would contact her. There was only one thing to do, and that was to finish the reading.

The seventh card Heather turned over was the Nine of Swords. Heather sucked her breath in. Oh no, just when she felt that Holly’s future might be quite rosy, this grim card came up. It could refer to death, miscarriage, deception or despair. Which applied? Was the baby that was not Holly’s that could not be born going to die? Or was this a reference to Holly herself being in mortal danger? The rest of the cards will shed light.

The card in the external influence position was the Queen of Pentacles reversed, indicating an evil woman, well aware of what she was doing. Who was this? Surely this couldn’t be Donald’s
second wife. Holly didn’t pose a threat to her, unless if there was something that Holly hadn’t told her. Whoever she might be, she meant Holly harm.

The card that Heather turned over in the hopes and fears position, The Tower, again indicated change and that the change would be due to an outside influence and that Holly would have no control over it.

The final card was not the one Heather would have hoped for. It confirmed her fears for Holly, as the Seven of Swords indicated that Holly should be careful whom she trusted.

 Gwen pulled the door to her shed closed behind her and listened to the locks engaging themselves. Clouds had come in and the sky was dark apart from the city lights reflecting off them. She did not feel good about what she had just done.

In the kitchen she scrubbed her hands violently, as if the soap and water could erase the imprint of the crucifix on the palm of her hand.

She tried to ease the guilt in her mind, that her heart had not been in it, and therefore nothing would come of it. All the same, she knew that for some time to come, every time she thought of Holly, she would see the red drop forming at the bottom the cross, held like a knife in her hand. She did not quite understand the parts of the ritual – it had never been her intention to harm Holly physically, nor, the goddess forbid, that she should actually die. As it was, Donald had a bleeding heart for the woman.

Gwen soaped her hands again, telling herself that she was being irrational and that it will be the last time she washed. Yet the smell of the burning herbs remained in her nostrils and her nails seemed discolored.

She swore to herself that she would never, ever again dabble in things she did not understand.




Maggie Tideswell’s debit novel, Dark Moon, was published in 2011. She lives in Johannesburg, South Africa with Gareth, her husband of many years.