Lunula by Alyssa Auch



Lunula font 2c

Title: Lunula

Author: Alyssa Auch

Genre: YA Fantasy

The witch knows he will hunt her.

If history repeats itself, as it always does, Wynn will have no choice but to cross paths with her feared counterpart, the warlock. If given the chance, he would kill Wynn, absorbing her aura and obtaining ultimate power. In a desperate attempt to outrun destiny, Wynn moves from place to place, hoping to stray from the map laid out by the Fates. But by chance, on an urgent errand for Queen Alexandria herself, Wynn finds she has fallen into the hands of the one man she so hopelessly fled from. Now his captive, Wynn must guard her secret and that of her kingdom, or risk bringing forth a dark age not seen in hundreds of years.

Author Bio

authorAlyssa Auch was born and raised in Pennsylvania with loving parents and three hilarious younger siblings. Her imagination was sparked by the lush, green forests and bright colors of her home that often spoke of other worlds only found in the magic of writing. She brought that inspiration into the fantasy novels she so loves to create.

Currently, Alyssa is a senior at Brigham Young University-Idaho studying Marriage and Family Relations with a minor in English. She is married to her High School sweetheart, and they have three beautiful children who keep them both very occupied. Although her novels are often written in the late hours of the night and during cherished naptime blocks, she devotes a very special part of herself to the power of words and love of storytelling.


Lunula Purchase Links

Publisher Site


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Author Contact




Twitter: @alyssa_auch

Excerpt I

My body bolted upright the moment I heard him wake. The soft squeak of his cot signaled that I was no longer safe in a vulnerable sleeping position, and although my desire to continue sleeping was nearly stronger, I forced myself to be alert and stood up. His elbows rested on his knees, and he rubbed his face, groaning as he moved his hands to ruffle his hair. When he looked over at me his forearms rested on his thighs, and he blinked in sleepy surprise. “My Fates, you’re still standing there.” His voice sounded husky with sleep.

I didn’t trust my own, not having had water in several hours. When I didn’t say anything, he sighed and stood. “My lady, that ring allows you several hundred paces of freedom, and I cannot have you here while I prepare for the day. The stream is straight to the east on the other side of the camp and I have no doubt that several of the men will be more than eager to help you with… whatever it is you need. I will come find you.” The last sentence didn’t sound as much like a threat as it did a promise.

As if I wanted him to come find me. I started forward, intending to march from the tent with dignity, but my ankles nearly gave out and sent me on my face. I caught myself on the edge of the table and the captain rushed forward to help me stand. “That tree was tall,” he remarked, taking hold of my forearms.

I pulled my arms from his grasp and glared up at his dark brown eyes, less intimidating in the glow of the sun. “Release me.”

The corner of his mouth twitched up. “Make me.”

Outraged, I stormed past him, limping slightly on my right ankle. I was going to go as far from this camp as I could before the ring choked me to death. I might even let it, at that. Outside it appeared that most of the men were already awake, even though the sun had just barely risen. I shivered in the chill, not realizing how warm the enclosure had been before. Frost crunched under my shoes, and I tried to look as inconspicuous as possible as I made my way around the tents. In one area of the camp I saw crudely-shaped human figures made of wooden beams mounted for training, and each was confronted by a burly man, attacking the dummy with all the intensity of a real battle. There were very few who sat eating breakfast, for most of the men were working, chopping wood, carrying supplies, training, and even washing clothing in large wooden tubs. I didn’t see any women in the camp, but that didn’t surprise me.

When I reached the other side of the camp, not stopped by any of the men, I marched straight through the gap in the tents and went directly east as the captain had instructed. I felt like I had swallowed handfuls of dirt all night, so dry was my mouth and throat. As I made my way through the forest, I encountered the boy whom the captain had sent to retrieve the search party. His hair dripped with water and his clothing stuck to him like he had just taken a bath without bothering to dry off. He stopped when he saw me. “My lady, is there something I can assist you with?”

I wanted to scowl at him, but he was so endearing. It might have been because he was the only gangly male in the camp, and possibly the youngest as well. I stopped and shook my head.

“No, I thank you. I am just looking for a drink.”

“Oh, don’t drink that water. We have a well, my lady. If you follow me I can show you.” He ran his hand through his dark brown hair, showering the air with droplets of water.

A well? Just how long had this Dristolian army been here? “Thank you,” I conceded. When he led me through the forest and, thank the Fates, not through the camp, I felt brave enough to ask, “Are you from Dristol?”

He walked beside me, and I saw his eyes flit to me and then straight ahead in nervousness. “Uhm…well Fates, if you’re our prisoner you aren’t going to tell anyone, are you? Yes, we’re Dristolians.”

I didn’t like the idea of never leaving this camp. Once they found that box and knew I would return to Queen Alexandria eventually, they would never let me go. Whatever it was they were doing here, it wasn’t with the queen’s blessing. “You will lose, you know,” I said.

The boy shrugged, smiling. “Maybe.”

Clearly there was something more happening here, but I knew no one would tell me outright what it was.

“My name is Gavin.” The boy, a full head taller than me, gave me a warm smile.

“Wynn,” I smiled back tentatively. I wrestled with the idea of spelling him, but if it was too obvious, the warlock captain would know who I was. “And I am not a spy,” I clarified.

He considered me for a few moments as we walked. “Maybe,” he said again. After a moment he seemed to almost blurt out, “But you don’t look like one.”

I gave him a smile. “That would be the point, though, wouldn’t it?”

“You aren’t helping yourself.” He grinned.

“I don’t know that it matters at this point.”

“Maybe,” he said again.


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Kind wishes,

Adrienne Woods


Flirting with Danger, by Claire Baxter

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Flirting With Danger

Claire Baxter


Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Entangled Publishing – Bliss
Date of Publication: September 9, 2013
ISBN: 9781622661435
Number of pages: approx. 190
Cover Artist: Jessica Cantor
Amazon    BN


Book Description:
To be together is dangerous. To stay apart is impossible.

Firefighter Jasmine Mackinnon has always just been one of the guys. So no one’s more shocked than she is to find herself kissing fellow firefighter and all-around sinfully handsome playboy Aaron Parkes after a friend’s wedding. Jasmine knows she can’t risk an emotional connection with a colleague—a potentially dangerous entanglement when fighting fires together—and nothing’s more important to her than her job.

Aaron never noticed how beautiful Jasmine was until he saw her out of her firefighter duds, but there’s something about the fiery woman that tempts him. Though he knows pursuing a real relationship is out of the question for a serial dater like him, when their casual flirtation builds into something more serious, it’s not just their jobs or their safety on the line. It’s their hearts.

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About the Author:

Claire Baxter writes contemporary romantic fiction of all lengths. Her short stories have been published in commercial women’s magazines around the world, while her novels have been translated into 20 languages and have been nominated in the Romance Writers of Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year Award, the RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and the Cataromance Reviewers’ Choice Awards (Winner, Best Harlequin Romance).

Before following her passion to write full-time, Claire was an award-winning corporate communications manager. Earlier, she worked as a translator and a PA.

Claire grew up in Warwickshire, England, but for more than 20 years has called Australia home. She considers herself lucky to live near one of Adelaide’s beautiful metropolitan beaches where she loves to walk and think up stories.




In a bedroom of a sprawling sandstone house in South Australia, Jasmine Mackinnon looked at the reflection of her friend and fellow bridesmaid, who was peering over her shoulder.

Sasha said, “You should wear that smoky eye shadow more often. It makes your eyes look enormous.”

“I get plenty of smoke on my face when I’m on a call-out. I don’t need to add more.”

“No, not when you’re at work, obviously,” Sasha said as she straightened. “But you could make an effort when we go out.”

Jasmine winced. “I do make an effort.”

“Oh, I know. I didn’t mean it like that.” Sasha pulled an apologetic face. “Okay, maybe I did, but I was trying to be helpful. You’re so pretty, but you don’t make the most of what you have. Look, what I mean is that you might find your Mr. Right if you went for a more feminine look.”

Marrying a man she loved, having babies, watching them grow up, staying together forever…that was the fairy tale for most women, her friends included. But how often did it actually happen? The staying together forever bit, anyway.

Not very often, in Jasmine’s experience. She hoped Leanne and Michael, today’s bride and groom, would make it, but it wasn’t a risk she was prepared to take for herself. Not unless she found a man she could trust completely, and they were few and far between.

Sighing, she said, “If I find a man to love me as I am, then great. But I’m not going to pretend to be something I’m not.”

Jasmine studied her reflection as the makeup artist blended blush beneath her cheekbones. Which made her look as if she actually had cheekbones. She’d bet that, given a choice between muscles and makeup on their women, most men would not choose muscles. But messing around with all those brushes and jars—it just wasn’t her style. Any man she allowed into her life would have to want the real her no matter what she did or didn’t slap on her face.

Sasha was on a roll now. “Okay, I can see your point, but first impressions are important, aren’t they? You need to get past the first hurdle before you can really get to know someone. All I’m saying is, you might meet more men if you looked as if you cared what they thought of you. And you could be a bit more encouraging when men do try to talk to you. You could give them a chance. Like that poor man in the pub last week.”

Jasmine swiveled the chair. “What man?”

“The one with the Johnny Depp jaw.”

She screwed up her eyes. “Can’t say I remember him.”

“He came over to talk to us. To you, anyway.”

“Oh! You mean when we were watching the game on the big screen?”


“I didn’t notice his jaw; I was too busy paying attention to the football.”

“Trust me, he was cute. And he tried to start a conversation with you.”

Jasmine frowned. “Did he?”

“He asked you what you did for a living.”

She nodded. “That’s right. I remember.”

“And what did you say?”

“Er…female impersonator.”

“My point exactly. No wonder he took off like he’d been spat out.”

“The scores were level. It was a crucial point.”

The door of the en-suite bathroom opened and Leanne, the bride, emerged, wrapped in a toweling robe, and, like Jasmine and Sasha, sporting large rollers in her hair. “What did I miss?”

“I was just telling Jasmine that she frightens men off when they try to talk to her.”

Nodding, Leanne pulled up a chair. “Well, it’s not really her fault that she intimidates them, is it? She’s so…”

“Capable,” Sasha supplied.

“Hello. I’m still in the room.” Jasmine frowned. “And since when was being capable a bad thing?”

“It’s not, generally, but you don’t give men a chance to be men around you.”

“Oh, that’s rubbish.”

“No, it’s true,” Leanne said. “You’re good at most things they’d consider men’s stuff. Heck, you can probably bench press more than some of them. You even do a job that a lot of men wouldn’t have the guts to do. You make them feel inadequate.”

“And we love you for it,” Sasha added. “You know that, don’t you?”

Jasmine nodded. Her friendship with Leanne and Sasha went back as long as she could remember, and she’d never doubt their motives for a moment.

“We’re just saying that it’s going to be tough for you to find a man who’s secure enough in his own masculinity to cope with all that.”

“Unless you’re smart, like me, and marry a firefighter,” Leanne said with a smile.

“She’s right,” Sasha said. “And there are some good-looking guys in your station. What about Kane? He’s cute.”

“Cute like a puppy. He’s younger than me.”

“Not by much. All right, how about Aaron, then? Ooh, Aaron.” Sasha fanned herself. “He has all the right credentials. Tall, dark, and—”

“Dangerous,” Leanne interrupted. “Tall, dark, and dangerous. Strictly no strings, that’s Aaron Parkes. He could charm the skin off a rice pudding, but he thinks having breakfast with a woman the morning after is long-term.”

“Isn’t that what makes him irresistible?” Sasha said. “You know, the thrill of being the one to hook him? Maybe he just hasn’t found the right woman yet?”

“He’s not looking,” Jasmine said. “Trust me, he’s happy the way he is. I should know; I have to listen to him bragging about his conquests at work. They’re all the same, and they don’t seem to care that he’s only interested in one thing.”

Leanne shook her head. “Forget about him. I wouldn’t want to see Jasmine dating Aaron. It could only end in tears, and then we’d have to kill him”

“I have no intention of dating him,” Jasmine said. She wouldn’t dream of becoming a notch on Aaron’s bedpost—if there was even any bedpost left to carve a notch in. “Anyway, there’s no way I’d go out with a colleague at all. Not Aaron, not anybody. Workplace romances get messy, and in a job like ours, messy is the last thing we need. We have to be able to rely on each other in life-threatening situations—would you trust a colleague to save your life if his girlfriend was in danger as well?” She shook her head. “Of course you wouldn’t. Plus, dating’s not allowed. Not between people who work in the same team like Aaron and I do.”



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Sunset Rising by S.M McEACHERN



About Sunset Rising

17312777Title: Sunset Rising

Author: S.M. McEachern

Genre: YA Dystopian

February 2024: Desperate to find refuge from the nuclear storm, a group of civilians discover a secret government bio-dome. Greeted by a hail of bullets and told to turn back, the frantic refugees stand their ground and are grudgingly permitted entry. But the price of admission is high.

283 years later… Sunny O’Donnell is a seventeen-year-old slave who has never seen the sun. She was born in the Pit, a subterranean extension of the bio-dome. Though life had never been easy, lately it had become a nightmare. Her mom was killed in the annual Cull, and her dad thought it was a good time to give up on life. Reyes Crowe, her long-time boyfriend, was pressuring her to get married, even though it would mean abandoning her father.

She didn’t think things could get any worse until she was forced upstairs to the Dome to be a servant-girl at a bachelor party. That’s where she met Leisel Holt, the president’s daughter, and her fiancé, Jack Kenner.

Now Sunny is wanted for treason. If they catch her, she’ll be executed.

She thought Leisel’s betrayal was the end. But it was just the beginning.

Sunset Rising is Book One of a series. 

Author Bio

Author Page 2S.M. McEachern (also known as Susan) has an honors degree in International Development.  As an author, Susan combined her political background with her love of action and romance to create her debut novel Sunset Rising.  The first book of a trilogy, Susan is currently working on the second book and drafting the third.  What does she like best about being an author?  Hearing from her readers!




Excerpt of Sunset Rising.

“Seventeen?  I married a teenager?” He sounded shocked.  “Wait a minute, are you telling me that you and Reyes got engaged when you were only thirteen?”
“Yes.  What’s so strange about that?”
“I’m twenty and that’s a young age in the Dome to get married.  Usually people wait until they’re about twenty-five.”
“Well, when you face certain death at thirty-five, you speed up your life a little bit.”

I hope you all the best with Sunset Rising.

Kind Wishes, Adrienne Woods

Ragesong: Awakening by J.R Simmons



Ragesong: Awakening


Title: Ragesong: Awakening
Author: J.R. Simmons
Genre: YA Fantasy Adventure


When the peaceful kingdom of Fermicia is enslaved by a power-hungry renegade, its only hope lies in a band of unlikely heroes: two children whose musical abilities allow them to harness the power of Ragesong, and their shape-changing guides.

Jake starts his first day of junior high completely oblivious to the fact that he has been chosen for something incredible. That same afternoon, he learns that he has been marked as one with the power to save an entire kingdom. Through the course of his journey, Jake discovers that his advanced musical abilities are peculiarly connected to a mysterious power known as Ragesong. Joined by a shy, young girl with similar musical talents and two Changelings that hold a fierce loyalty to their homeland and king, Jake must learn to harness this ability in order to survive the dangers of a hostile new world.

Author Bio

JR Simmons lives in Northern Utah with his wife and 4 boys. He loves spending time with his family and coaching his kids in all of their different sports. He is an avid gamer and is very excited that his boys are picking up on his hobby. JR was recently introduced to triathlons and has since found that he loves the sport. Most nights he can be found either sitting down with a good game or hunched over his iPad writing.







From Ragesong: Awakening.

Chapter 6


Lifting his flute to his lips, Jake blew into it, testing the pitch. When it sounded a little sharp, he pulled the head joint out a little and tried again. Once satisfied with the tuning, he glanced up and saw a speculative expression on Ms. Gladwell’s face. He counted to himself and then started to play his song.

The boys who were smirking jerked their heads up straight. Hearing whispers of recognition as he played, Jake smiled inwardly. His mom had been right; the song had gotten their attention. He played through The Legend of Zelda theme song and when he finished everyone started to clap without even waiting for the teacher’s lead. No one was smirking now and a lot of the boys were talking excitedly.

“All right, quiet down now,” said Ms. Gladwell as she attempted to bring the class under control. “That was lovely, Jake, thank you. It brings back memories.” Winking at him, she laughed. “Zelda is one of my favorites, although none of the sequels have held a candle to the original. Graphics aren’t everything you know.”

All the boys started whispering again. Their teacher played games? How cool was that!

“Yes, yes, I play video games! I am not that old,” she continued. “When I was a girl, I played the original first. Now please sit down, Jake, as we still have one more student who would like to play, and then we need to talk about the syllabus before the bell rings.”

I would love to read this one once my TBR Pile has shrunk. It sounds just like my type of book.

I wish J.R. Simmons all the best with Ragesong.


Kind Wishes,

Adrienne Woods

Hello! A Modern Love story by E. Journey



Title: Hello! A Modern Love Story
Author: EJourney
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Hello! 3D cover (1)

Heartache and the specter of revenge follow when sparring partners spend the night together two days before he weds someone else.

A deliciously romantic romp with a good dose of realism and a twist of mystery.

A clash of wits, more than of wills, drives the love story in this modern-day pastiche of 19th-century romance novels by Elizabeth Gaskell (North and South) and Jane Austen.  The main protagonists deal with messy feelings and events that could happen to any of us:  The heroine, a bright young lawyer, confronts choices about career, abortion, and reactions of parents, friends, and men; while he, an alpha male, is haunted by past relationships, but with a sensitive, caring side that emerges as he woos the heroine.


Author Bio

EJourney is a flaneuse (an observer/wanderer) who writes about, and illustrates (oils, pastels, digital) what she sees and loves.   In a past life, with a now-dormant Ph.D., (University of Illinois), she researched, evaluated and developed mental health programs.

Writing was her first love and she wanted to be a journalist but her parents balked at that.  She was 15, malleable, and dependent on them for support, so she went into the social sciences, actually a compromise and preferable to chemistry, her parents’ choice.

EJourney’s first novel, Margaret of the North, is illustrated with digital “paintings” done on an iPad.

Her book website is: for articles on books and writing, some reviews, and interviews.

For her take on art, travel (mostly Paris where she has stayed for months), eating, and state of being as well as some of her paintings, her website is Journey on a Limb at .



book website:


Book Excerpts


Elise stared, with lids drooping over glazed eyes, at the newscaster on television, while she nibbled on some take-out falafel from a neighborhood restaurant. But as bright as that pita tasted, with her favorite spicy filling of bean balls, she could not relish it, although she was famished.
What she wanted was rest. She needed more of that than what she could stuff into her mouth and her stomach. She plopped the remaining falafel on the coffee table in front of her. Then, she slid her body, weary and heavy, down on the supple seat cushions.
The last two weeks had been hectic. She was exhausted from running around during the day—interviewing witnesses for her first big case—then working late in her apartment. She had devoted her nights to reading and analyzing transcriptions of interviews and depositions. This evening was not going to be any better.
Sweet, glorious slumber soon took over. But not for long.
Insistent ringing jarred Elise for an instant out of the thick fog in her head. She stirred, but she could not move her limbs and she slid back into another fitful dream.
The ringing began again. How long after the first, she could not tell. She groped for the phone on the side table behind her head.
“Hello.” Elise slurred, still dazed from sleep, her eyes closed.
Her greeting was met with silence.
“Hello?” she said once more.
“Hello. Do you remember me?” The voice that answered was deep and resonant; one resurrected from her past.
Elise sprang upright and swung her legs off the couch. She switched on the lamp on the side table. Now wide-awake, she reached for the remote control and turned off the television, still blaring the same headlines about the uncertain economy and businesses continuing to fail.
Did she remember? How could she forget? There was not a week that passed when that voice did not speak, answering one question or another, on the radio, on television, or merely in her head.
No, she had not forgotten. How could she? But she never expected that voice to address her again. It had been two years, after all, since they were last together, and one year since she had given up on him.
“Yes, yes. Of course, I do.”
Elise could not say anymore. Her heart was thumping. She tucked the strands of hair that had fallen on her face into the barrette on the back of her head and waited for the voice to say more.
For a long moment, there was silence at the other end, although she could hear him breathing. She imagined his chest rising and falling, deep, rhythmic, and regular. She remembered how it felt as it did that, its muscles lean and strong against her breasts.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about you lately,” Greg said.
She gripped the telephone tighter and licked her dry lips.
“Oh?” She managed to squeak the word out of her parched throat.
“Off and on the last two years. Mostly on.”
“Mmmm. Me, too.” She bit her lip. Damn! Sleep had stolen her self-control. She didn’t want him to know she still thought about him.
“Really? Listen, can we meet?” He was never one to beat around the bush. That, she remembered very well, too. She liked that about him. She also liked how his greyish blue eyes peered into hers and how his direct gaze burrowed into her soul, even as those eyes bared his own. She liked the sharp, introspective mind behind them, too. She liked…..
”Stop!” Elise said to herself
“Are you still there?” Greg’s voice jolted her out of her imagined residues of their past together.
“Yes. I’m sorry. I’ve had a long day. I’m still trying to wake up from a nap.” She feigned a yawn. “It kinda came over me this afternoon. This is so unlike me.”
“I see, hectic days as usual.” Another moment of silence at his end. “Would you fit me into your busy schedule? Please? I need to see you. I want to see you.”
Her heart went thumping again. She bit her lips harder to suppress the breath that heaved at her chest. A few moments went by before she could trust her voice.
“Why not. When?”
“Tomorrow night?”
“That soon? Aren’t you busier than me? How could you fit me into your schedule, just like that?” Early in their acquaintance, she risked falling into sarcasm whenever she spoke to him. Tonight, he provoked it in her again.
“Please, Elise.”
“There’s an Indian restaurant on the corner of Huston and Kramer. Maybe 8 pm?”
“Three blocks from my apartment? Yes, I’ve passed by the place.” She knitted her brow and wondered, for a moment, why he would know about a restaurant in the area. But all she could manage to add was, “At 8 then.”
She hung up and did not wait for him to respond. Her hands started to shake and she clenched them tight, close to her stomach, to keep them still.
She blinked away the moisture gathering in her eyes and turned off the lamp. How exasperating! Why could she not turn off the sensations that flooded her then? The way she could turn off that lamp with a quick flick of her fingers.
Her head began to reel and she leaned back on the couch. She was breathing deep and hard, straining for air. Her limbs tingled from a million tiny delicious pricks on the surface of her skin. Stirrings of sensations, too exquisite to be buried, churned her insides. But she wanted them buried. She needed them lost in some unreachable recess in her brain. She did not dare hope again. She clasped her arms around her chest.
What was she thinking? Why see him again? What did he want now?
Elise sat in the dark a long time—at least an hour, according to the clock on her side table.
Work. Work was always a good antidote to the messiness of feelings. She turned on the lamp again and stared at the thick putrid green folder of depositions on the coffee table. Next to it, lay the falafel, its sauce liquefied by wilted lettuce and oozing too close to those precious depositions. She rewrapped the uneaten mess in its brown bag and threw it into the trash basket by her foot—already half-full of rejected drafts and notes for her new case.
She picked up the folder and placed it on her lap. But she could not open it. It weighed her legs down and reminded her how exhausted she was. Drained. Not so much from her work at the Public Defender’s office as from all that happened within the last hour or so.
She unloaded the folder back on to the coffee table, turned off the lamp and went to bed.
That night, she lay, tossing, two hours past her usual bedtime. A couple of times, she skimmed through the book on eastern thought that she kept on her bedside table. Her trusty first defense against insomnia. She read it when fatigue could not put her to sleep. But that night, it failed at its task.
She took in a deep breath and let it out slowly, over and over. She tried to lie still, but her muscles twitched and trembled. The sensations, Greg stirred in her again, had stopped. And, yet, sleep continued to elude her.
She reached for the bottle of Benadryl under her pillow and popped a pill into her mouth.
Thoughts and dreams floated through her head that night. She fell asleep at some point, she was sure of that, because the following morning, she bounded without much effort from bed, alert and ready for the frenzy of the day.
Elise went straight home from work. She paced her apartment for about half an hour, faltering: Should she go or shouldn’t she? She dreaded seeing Greg again and, yet, she wanted to.
In the end, she told herself she should, if only out of obligation. She did say she would come. And seeing him again could help. Maybe, the meeting could put a definite closure to a phase in her life—long passed—that still bothered her at night, alone on her bed. That was the best she could hope for but it might be enough to give her the ease and peace she craved.
Elise arrived at the restaurant a quarter after eight. Inside the restaurant, the light was low, flickering from candles on dinner tables covered with stiffly-starched table cloths. Background music floated through the dense air, reeking of roasting meat and a mixture of Indian spices. She could recognize a few of them from her mother’s cooking—cumin, cinnamon, and garlic.
She knew the song well, a popular Argentinean ballad sometimes chanted to the beat of tango. Now, it gushed from a tremulous, pleading voice ” bésame bésame mucho…..” She frowned and smiled a little. Latin America, in bed with India. Getting global could produce unexpected alliances.
A waiter led her to the table where Greg sat, his right hand on the table, cradling a half-empty glass of beer that he was tapping with a finger.
He rose as soon as he saw her, the shadow of a smile on his lips.
She came dressed in a midnight blue short-sleeved turtleneck and jeans. She wondered what he would think of her now. She was older and she had lost a few pounds since the last time they were together. He used to tease her about the baby fat on her face but she had lost that, too, setting off her cheekbones and the slight upward lift in her eyes. She had swept her blonde hair, including the wisps that usually fell on her face, into a tight ponytail that she gathered towards one side of her head.
She was trembling a little by the time they stood in front of each other, the square dining table between them. She forced a smile; clenched, then opened, her hand to control its trembling. With some hesitation, she extended it out to him.
“Good evening, Greg. I’m sorry I’m late. I was taking a deposition. It lasted a little longer than usual.” She dropped her lids as she apologized. She could not stand how he was looking at her.
“How are you, Elise? You made it. Better late than never. I was worried you wouldn’t come.”
He enclosed her hand in both of his.
“Is it cold outside?” he asked. He rubbed her hand gently with his thumbs and held on to it a little longer than she thought necessary.
“No, it’s warm enough. I get cold hands sometimes.”
She looked up again at those eyes, gleaming under his dark, lush eyebrows, even in the low light. She pulled her hand out of his. He seemed reluctant to let go of it.
She sat down and slung the strap of her shoulder bag on the back of her chair. She was doing all she could to avoid that gaze. She fidgeted on the hard wooden chair.
Greg said, “They’re not too comfortable, I’m afraid.”
Elise nodded at his sympathetic smile, her lips twitching into a semblance of one. She picked up the menu. “I am starved. I munched on an apple and gulped down a glass of milk for lunch. Maybe, that’s why my hands are cold.”
“Did you come straight from work?”
“No. I gotta read through some stuff tonight so I popped into my apartment to leave them there. Then, I thought I might as well change.”
“…..que tengo miedo perderte perderte otra vez.” The plaintive voice and the orchestra trailed to a close. On its heels, a sitar trilled the exotic twangy strains of Indian instrumental music. Elise took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She read through the menu with greater concentration than she knew it needed, but it distracted her from his oppressive gaze.
“The tandoori lamb is their specialty.”
“Oh! You have been here.” She peeked at Greg from behind her menu.
“Yes. A few times.”
A rosy flush tinged her cheeks. He lived in the poshest neighborhood in the San Francisco Bay Area and had no occasion to wander into hers, twenty miles away, a gentrifying city with dog parks, Wi-Fi-enabled coffee shops, and new condominiums equipped with workout facilities that attracted many young professionals like her.
The waiter returned to take their order.
“The tandoori lamb, please, with salad. And a glass of mango lassi,” she said.
“Make that two, with naan, no lassi. But I’ll have a cup of tsai.”
The waiter took their menus away.
They turned towards each other at about the same time. Face-to-face, across the small table, they gazed into each other’s eyes for a wordless minute or so. His eyes glowed with an expression she knew only too well. That gaze used to make her tingle. She endured it for as long as she could.
Elise pursed her lips and picked up the glass of water on her side of the table. Drops spilled out of the glass as she raised it to her mouth.
She held her glass tighter as she took small sips of water from it. She kept her eyes directed on the table, aware that Greg was still staring at her. She resisted a sudden urge to throw the water on his face—that should make him blink or turn his face away. Instead, she willed herself to look up again.
She raised her head. A wave of warmth infused her skin and she hoped the light was low enough to hide the blush that she was sure came with it.
Greg smiled at her—the kind of smile that brightened his eyes but barely broke his lips. A knot roiled at the pit of her stomach and spread to her chest. She frowned in irritation. After two years, how could that smile still bring on that sensation? A sensation, among many, that she had tried to bury.
Elise kept her gaze on him. But it was a struggle not to look down or turn away. She bit her lower lip and swallowed.


The Basement by Vashti Quiroz-Vega

The Basement


Title: The Basement
Genre: Middle Grade
Ebook, 180 pages
Published August 20th 2013 by Tate Publishing
First title: The Basement Robbie’s Rite of Passage
ISBN 9781625105
Edition language: English



“A kid should not be aware of his own heartbeat”, he thought.

Never forget the unexplored territories in your own back yard, or under your house. Here, Vashti Quiroz-Vega gives voice to the young inhabitants of one neighborhood where things are more than they seem.

Robbie is an ordinary boy in a normal world, as we first enter the neighborhood and witness an idyllic scene of prepubescent children at play; but what happens in silence and in the dark will amaze you. Join Robbie as he journeys to explore unknown and forgotten tales of intrigue, fear and blind faith.

Ask yourself:

What kinds of monsters lurk in your world?

What will you do when you can no longer see?

The Basement is a tale of angst, teamwork and solutions, of treasure hunts and adventure, and of facing your fears. It is a focus on the small- but everything- world of one group of pre-teens and the very real and wondrous world they face, and it is a take-away resource.

What will you take away?



Vasti Quiroz – Vega lives in Seria: I didn’t get time to chat with her but I got this of her blog on goodreads where you can connect with her.

We’re living in tough times, what with impending war and the economy being what it is. I’m sure most of you are aware that the United States and its allies are preparing for a possible strike against Syria. I understand that what’s happening there is important and affects all of us. I also know that this subject is complex and may be confusing for some people.

I’m not a journalist or even a very political person for that matter, but I’ve been following this story. In today’s blog post, I am going to share my thoughts and opinions on this subject. The entire issue is confusing, and my hope is that in the process of sharing my thoughts, I will help at least one person to better understand what’s going on. However, I encourage you to do your own reading and research and develop your own views on the matter.

Syria is a country in the Middle East. It’s about the size of Washington State. The country is currently in the middle of an intense and bloody civil war. So far, the fighting between government and rebel forces has resulted in the death of over one hundred thousand people, as well as two million refugees, half of them children




The Basement was a really awesome Middle grade read. Vashti hooks you from the beginning straight through to the end. I think this can fall under horror for Middle graders and I also think that they will love this.

The thing about the basement is, Vashti really makes her story sound real. It can happen, in the eyes of a middle grade, and that is what makes it so scary. I loved every page, I think she has a unique writing style and very well developed characters. The plots in this story are developed to the t. I don’t want to give any spoilers away. If you have a middle grader running around your house, get them this book. They will devour the pages and feel as if they are going with this character on a journey, they’ll never forget.

Well done, Vashti. If my babes were older, I would have definitely gave this to them.

I wish you all the luck with The Basement.

Kind wishes,

Adrienne Woods