Morgaine Le Fay and the Viking: The Viking Series Book One
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Publisher: Crimson Frost
Date of Publication: August 26, 2016
Number of pages: 274
Travel across oceans, continents and countries to discover the story of legendary Viking hero, Holger Danske, and his magical romance with King Arthur’s half-sister in Morgaine Le Fay and the Viking.
This is the story of two warriors who never thought they’d find love, especially on the battlefield, yet standing poised against each other Morgaine and Holger face an attraction more powerful than any sword, stronger than any warrior and more magical than all the powers of Merlin.
This is an old story told from a totally different perspective. This is a Viking’s tale.
MORGAINE LE FAY AND THE VIKING is a legendary romance filled with honorable Knights from King Arthur’s Round Table, Salacious Pirates, and Brutal Vikings. This is the retelling of the romance between King Arthur’s half-sister, Morgaine Le Fay, and her epic lover, the Viking Prince of Denmark and heir to King Geoffrey’s throne, Holger Danske. And though you might think you know these characters from the British stories, this tale comes from an entirely different point of view. The Viking perspective.
Everyone knows of Excalibur and King Arthur but few know of his brother-in-law, the Danish Viking Prince and warrior Holger Danske or his sword Cortana. MORGAINE LE FAY AND THE VIKING is a mature Young Adult retelling of folk-lore legend and Danish leader, Holger Danske, and his magical romance with the sorceress Princess Morgaine Le Fay.
They met on a battlefield, poised against each other, but their attraction was more powerful than any sword, stronger than any warrior and more magical than Merlin, yet theirs is a tale more tragic than Romeo and Juliet.
Weaving the stories from English, French and Danish together this is one slice from the rich tapestry of tales that have come together throughout time and history.
While most everyone who searches for tales of the middle ages and seeks out stories of Knights and battles, castles and magical swords, they will only find the stories of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Yet, it is only with the help of the Viking warrior Holger Danske of Denmark and Charles the Great (a.k.a Charlemagne of France) that King Arthur beat back the Saxons and retained leadership of Camelot.
Amidst these battles and legends, Morgaine Le Fay is worthy of her own stand-alone stories for she was such a strong woman everyone believed her to be a sorceress or more than human. Some said she was half fairy because she rode with the men in battle and was more than willing to take enormous risks for the men she loved.
Some believe she was the most powerful sorceress in all of history, having tutored under the guidance of Merlin and quickly surpassing his abilities. But it is her tragic love story with the Danish Prince that forms this first story in the Viking Series: MORGAINE LE FAY AND THE VIKING.
Morgaine’s true love, the Viking Norse leader and legendary warrior, is immortalized in stone in the dungeons of Hamlet’s Castle on the shore that sits between the sound of Denmark and Sweden.
But there is much more to this tale than a simple love story.
King Arthur received his magical sword, Excalibur, from the Norse Goddess, also known as The Lady of the Lake but Excalibur was not the only magical sword she ever relinquished to mortal hands. She gave just such a magical sword to the Danish Prince, Holger, and one to the French King, Charlemagne. Together these three heroic men joined forces to fight side by side. Britain, France and Scandinavia battled back the invading Saxons.
I am married to a Dane who was born and raised in Denmark, and have visited the Castle of Kronborg in Helsingør, Denmark and viewed the statue Holger Danske in the casemates. I have also visited both England and France and tried to stay true to the themes of all three legends, (from Denmark-Holger Danske, England-King Arthur, and France-Charlemagne), while weaving them together. However, I have taken artistic liberties with language and in dramatizing the tale of The Viking Princess.
There is an entire world full of rich stories about epic battles that go far beyond King Arthur’s realm and other countries hold their legendary heroes in this same high regard. This is one such story.
Theirs was a romance that threatened two kingdoms.
MORGAINE LE FAY AND THE VIKING is the secret Denmark never shares…until now. Morgaine and Holger faced an attraction more powerful than any sword, stronger than any warrior and more magical than all the powers of Merlin.
Kimbra Kasch is a romance writer who grew up in a family with 9 kids and only 1 t.v. So instead of fighting with her brothers and sisters about which shows to watch, she’d spend her days reading and, later, writing, which explains why she love books so much.
Kimbra’s favorite romance novels are The Hunger Games, the Divergent Series and, yes, even the Twilight books. She loves something with a hint of danger and/or paranormal.
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js” target=”_blank”>Tour giveaway: A $25.00 gift card (winner’s choice) Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Blood and Magic: Coven Enforcers Book One
Dream Shadow Press
Release Date: 7/18/16
Genre: Historical paranormal romance with a steampunk edge
Coven Enforcers = Dark, Dangerous, Magical Men
Coven Witches bow to no one—least of all Enforcers.
Sparks ignite. Tempers run high. Passion explodes. Hot. Sweet. Impossible to ignore….
Magic didn’t just find Luke Caulfield. It chased him down, bludgeoned him, and has been dogging him ever since. Some lessons are harder than others, but Luke embraces danger, upping the ante to give it one better. An enforcer for the Coven, a large, established group of witches, his latest assignment is playing bodyguard to the daughter of Coven leaders.
Abigail Ruskin is chaperoning a spoiled twelve-year-old from New York to her parents’ home in Utah Territory when Luke gets on their stagecoach in Colorado. A powerful witch herself, Abigail senses Luke’s magic, but has no idea what he’s doing on her stagecoach. Stuck between the petulant child and Luke’s raw sexual energy, Abigail can’t wait for the trip to end.
Unpleasant truths surface about the child. While Abigail’s struggling with those, wraiths, wolves, and dark mages launch an attack. Luke’s so attracted to Abigail, she’s almost all he can think about, but he’s leery too. The child is just plain evil. Is Abigail in league with her? It might explain the odd attack that took out their driver and one of their horses. In over his head, he summons enforcer backup.
Will they help him save the woman he’s falling in love with, or demand her immediate execution?
Blood and Sorcery: Coven Enforcers Book Two
Dream Shadow Press
Release Date: 8/1/16
Joshua committed his life to fighting Black Magick. Not sure who he hates worse, dark sorcerers or the clerics who tortured and mutilated his family, he lives on the road with his horse and his magic, working as a Coven enforcer. Breana Giraud is the only woman he’s ever loved, and until very recently she was married to someone else.
Breana’s husband, Don, sold his soul to the devil, embracing dark practices. Along the way, he corrupted their daughter. While Breana could’ve turned him in to Coven justice without a second thought, she couldn’t bring herself to implicate her child. Still reeling from her daughter’s death at the hands of evil, and grateful her husband met the vicious end he deserved, she feels broken, damaged. The last thing on her mind is falling in love.
Joshua tries to hold back, give Breana room to mourn her losses, but if he has his way, she’ll become his wife. With Don dead, and the path to his heart’s true love finally clear, he’ll do anything he can to make her his. Even if it means fighting his way past the dark mages’ leader, who wants her for his own.
Blood and Illusion: Coven Enforcers Book Three
Release Date: 8/22/16
Not all witches join the Coven. Fiercely independent, Isla heads up her own small band in the San Francisco area. She’s never needed help before, but dark sorcerers drive her and her group into hiding, trapping them.
Sam’s worked for the Coven as one of their enforcers forever. He’s been there so long, the Coven is the only mistress he knows. It’s a lonely life on the road thwarting wickedness and Black Magick with his guns, his magic, and his horse, but it’s been enough to satisfy him. Until now.
A group of witches is in deep trouble. They’re not part of the Coven, but Sam is sworn to protect all witches and he rides to their assistance with several of his brothers. Nothing prepares him for the outspoken spitfire who ends up riding double with him. She’s forthright, opinionated, and downright hostile, but he’s drawn to her self-sufficiency—and her undeniable beauty. Soon, Isla is all he can think about.
Dark forces are on the move. Protecting the woman he’s falling in love with is at the very top of Sam’s list. If they manage to survive, he’ll tame her. Claim her. Make her his.
Ann Gimpel is a national bestselling author. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Her longer books run the gamut from urban fantasy to paranormal romance. Once upon a time, she nurtured clients, now she nurtures dark, gritty fantasy stories that push hard against reality. When she’s not writing, she’s in the backcountry getting down and dirty with her camera. She’s published over 30 books to date, with several more planned for 2016 and beyond. A husband, grown children, grandchildren and wolf hybrids round out her family.
Title: The Geisha with the Green Eyes
Author: India Millar
Genre: Historical Romance
The Geisha with the Green Eyes by India Millar
By 1850, Japan had been closed to the outside world for centuries. It was a secret, hidden world. And deep within Edo was Yoshiwara − The Floating World. The center of pleasure. Within Yoshiwara was the Hidden House. A place that only the very wealthy could afford to visit. The place where the geisha were… special.
And in the Hidden House lived Midori No Me. Half Japanese, half foreign Barbarian, born in captivity. She was trained to dedicate her life to serving the wealthiest men in Japan. Defiled at thirteen when her virginity was sold to the highest bidder. Possessed by the greatest actor in the Kabuki theatre. Stolen by the most powerful Yakuza in Edo.
The geisha who escaped from the Floating World.
The Geisha with the Green Eyes.
INDIA MILLAR started her career in heavy industry at British Gas and ended it in the rarefied atmosphere of the British Library. She now lives on Spain’s glorious Costa Blanca North in an entirely male dominated household comprised of her husband, a dog, and a cat. In addition to historical romances, India also writes popular guides to living in Spain under a different name. Her Romance Noir series is highlighted on her website, indiamillar.co.uk.
RED EMPRESS PUBLISHING is a full-service publisher offering traditional and new services for our authors to help them succeed and stand out in an ever-changing market. The company is actively seeking submissions by women and people of color as part of the company’s philosophy of diversity and inclusion. They are currently seeking submissions in any genre of fiction but especially romance, mystery, fantasy and historical fiction. Authors can submit their books and request more information on Red Empress Publishing’s official website. For the company’s latest news and updates, visit Red Empress on Facebook and Twitter.
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Win a $10 Amazon Gift Card, 5 Purple Flower Japanese Kanzashi, a paperback copy of The Geisha with the Green Eyes, or 5 Kindle versions of The Geisha with the Green Eyes.
Lavender in Bloom
Publication date: July 25th 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult
It’s the year 1802 in Avignon, France…
Noah Capet has spent most of his young life living simple and unvaried days in the hushed countryside of southern France. Quiet, reserved, and diffident, his preference for existing is to do so in solitude, keeping to himself both in town and on his family’s farm—a predilection that’s altogether disrupted when a newcomer to town by the name of Jeremie Perreault begins an unremitting quest to befriend him.
Jeremie is everything Noah is not. Charismatic and gregarious, he leaves a trail of charmed admirers in his wake wherever he goes. Expressive and idealistic, he talks without end about his deep love for old books and his spirited dream to one day travel the world on a literary pilgrimage.
Over the course of a single summer, the two form an unlikely friendship, but just as quickly as it develops, it soon entirely dissolves as they’re forced to face the truth of what has unexpectedly emerged between them.
Lavender in Bloom is a tender and tragic coming-of-age story about first love and self-discovery, and a poignant reminder that time is fleeting and always takes with it the choices we’re too afraid to make.
“I think of you almost every moment, Noah. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep. I am utterly tormented by these things I feel for you.”
It was as if lightning had struck Noah. He was paralyzed by the admission, stricken silent, and at his core, an inferno devoured him. Its heat filled his veins, spread from ligament to ligament, muscle to muscle. Jeremie had once read aloud a poem regarding a phoenix making its nest in a person’s bosom. Noah felt the phoenix now, felt her awakening, shifting, extending her wings and beating them powerfully so that he was left breathless, but no more breathless than by what Jeremie did next.
Jeremie came to him at once, erasing the last of the distance between them, and this time, Noah didn’t back away. The thin gap of space between their bodies sweltered. Still, Noah didn’t move. He didn’t move as Jeremie cupped Noah’s elbows, fingers grasping at bone. He didn’t move as Jeremie pulled him nearer. He didn’t even move when their faces were close enough for him to feel Jeremie’s warm breath against his mouth.
“Tell me you feel the same,” Jeremie whispered. It sounded like a prayer. His head was bowed slightly to be at level with Noah’s.
There was a pull in Noah’s stomach, an unfamiliar desire growing heavier. He was close enough now to see the velvet trimming on the collar of Jeremie’s coat, the paisley design of the white ascot at his neck. Jeremie’s lips lingered before his own, daring, eager, ravenous. It would’ve been effortless to give in, to lean his body into Jeremie’s, to be overtaken by the fever consuming him. He wanted to. Of that much he was certain, and it shocked him like nothing else ever had.
Tell me you feel the same, Jeremie had whispered.
And Noah, still fighting a war he hadn’t even known had begun long ago, had thought to, had nearly conceded to it. But then he saw an image of Jeremie’s father, cold and cruel, bringing his own son to ruins, and in the end, he couldn’t. He wouldn’t. For Jeremie’s sake, he couldn’t fall.
Firm in his resolve, he drew up his strength and stepped back out of Jeremie’s hold. The moment he did, the phoenix extinguished herself.
Tell me you feel the same.
Noah met his eyes, forcefully, meaningfully. “I don’t.”
Lily Velez has been writing stories since she was six years old. Not much has changed since then. She still prefers the written word and her overactive imagination over the ‘real world’ (though to be fair, her stories no longer feature talking dinosaurs). A graduate of Rollins College and a Florida native, when she’s not reading or writing, she spends most of her days wrangling up her pit bulls Noah and Luna, planning exciting travel adventures, and nursing her addiction to cheese. All this when she isn’t participating in the extreme sport known as napping. You can learn more about Lily and her books at http://www.lilyvelezbooks.com.
Author: Sarah Mitchell
Genre: Historical Romance
When Brianna married, she always thought it would be for love, soul shattering love. Now this warrior is demanding her hand. Against her own wishes she finds herself before the Altar beside Laird McGregor. Has fate played a cruel hand or is he the love she has always wanted? Only time will give her the answer.
He is known as the Dark Rider and feared by many.
Already he has lost three betrothed and will not lose another.
Torin likes the feisty lass and Brianna will be his… heart and soul.
Twitter – Sarah Mitchell @AuthorSarahM
(reblogged from Trout Nation)
Good Tuesday, everybody!
Quick announcement for romance/erotic romance readers: S.A. Price, Milly Taiden, Julie Morgan, Bianca Sommeland, TJ Michaels, Tilly Greene, Diana Castilleja, AD Roland, Marianne Morea, Sasha White and I have formed a multi-author mailing list and Facebook group where you can get news about our new releases and other authorly goings-on. It’s a great way to check out what’s happening and maybe find some new authors you might like. You can join the brand new Facebook group right here, and find information about the newsletter there, too.
BRIDE OF THE WOLF IS BACK!
My 2011 novella, Bride Of The Wolf, is available again! If you’re a fan of paranormal romance with shape shifters, historical romance with paranormal elements, or romances with disabled heroes, this book should be right up your alley.
Betrothed to the heir of Lord Canis, Aurelia finds herself thrown to the wolves. The Canis Clan are no ordinary warriors, but beasts raging beneath the skin of men. Their name chills the heart of every man in Britannia, though the heart of one maiden may be saved…
Once a mighty warrior in high esteem among the Clan, Sir Raf Canis knows all too well the dangers Aurelia will face in her new role as Lady of Blackens Gate. Tasked with the humiliating errand of delivering his brother’s intended, Raf instead finds himself fighting for her life–and falling into an impossible love that he cannot deny.
Content Warning: This book contains ableist language and attitudes in the context of its historical setting, as well as mentions of suicide, which may be triggering or upsetting to some readers.
Kimberley Griffiths Little
Published by: HarperCollins
Publication date: February 2nd 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult
She thought she’d lost everything . . .
After spending months traveling the harsh, unforgiving Mesopotamian desert, Jayden reunites with a broken, injured Kadesh. Although everyone was convinced the violent and unpredictable Horeb, Jayden’s betrothed, killed the handsome prince, Jayden knew in her heart that her love was alive and safe. But their reunion is short-lived, as they learn Horeb is on their trail and determined to take back the girl he has claimed. Soon, the two star-crossed lovers are on the run toward Sariba, Kadesh’s homeland, where, as heir to the Kingdom, he plans to make Jayden his princess.
But the trek to Sariba is fraught with heartache and danger. After narrowly escaping being stoned to death for a crime she didn’t commit, and learning that her sister has disappeared, Jayden’s only solace is her love for Kadesh. But even he is keeping secrets from her . . . secrets that will change everything.
This gorgeous and enchanting sequel to Forbidden, is full of love, danger, and heated passion that will leave readers breathless.
“This sequel to Forbidden (2014) picks up with desert girl Jayden, distraught that the young man she loves, Kadesh, might have died. But, of course, he hasn’t. Scarred and missing an eye, yes, but he’s escaped the clutches of Horeb, Jayden’s malicious betrothed. Traveling bravely through the desert, Jayden finds him. But that perilous trip is only the first of the dangers to come. Gathering an army, Kadesh is determined to return to his faraway home, where the valuable frankincense grows, and introduce Jayden as his future bride. First, however, they must face betrayal, danger, and a waiting evil. Jayden achieves almost superhero status here, moving from adventure to adventure—not even a near-death stoning can stop her.
Little’s descriptions of the landscape are evocative in both desolation and in beauty. Just as good is her pacing, which gets the blood pumping for both characters and readers. Far more than a bridge book, this will heighten anticipation for a no-doubt exciting conclusion.“
A dirty, callused hand slapped down over my mouth and the stale breath of a man hissed in my ear. “Don’t move or I’ll slit your pretty, little neck.”
I clawed at the stranger’s cloak, trying to push him off, but he was too heavy. A moment later, I realized my ankles were tied together. I couldn’t run, couldn’t even move. Shrieks gurgled in my throat as if I was drowning, his hand cutting off my air.
Only one day into my journey to find Kadesh and I was already dead.
The sharp tip of a blade pressed against my neck, and I whimpered.
“Give me the frankincense of the stranger we killed.” The man’s foul breath dragged across my face. He was referring to Kadesh, the boy I loved, who’d been murdered by Horeb, the prince of my tribe.
With myself as a witness, I’d watched Horeb plunge his sword into Kadesh and then order his soldiers to drag his body off.
Shock flooded me when I realized who my attacker was. I wrenched his fingers away from my mouth and with a raw voice, said, “Gad? What are you doing lurking about the cliffs of Mari?”
This man was a childhood friend of Horeb’s and one of my own tribesmen. His body pressed against mine, and I writhed in disgust.
There was only one reason Gad was in the foothills of Mari, far from the oasis of Tadmur where my tribe camped for the summer. He was a member of Horeb’s army.
Horeb, my betrothed. The man who’d attacked and scarred me. Blackmailed me for the murder of his father to hide the fact that he’d killed his own father so he could steal the tribal crown.
When I was a kid I read a book a day, scribbled stories, and dreamed about having my very own book on the library shelf. I grew up in San Francisco, but now live in an adobe house on the banks of the Rio Grande with my husband and sons. I think I’ve drunk so much Land of Enchantment water that some of that ancient magic got into my blood and now spurts out my pencil–I mean ergonomic keyboard. I adore anything old and musty with a secret story to tell.
I’m the author of 10 award-winning middle-grade and Young Adult novels with Scholastic and Harpercollins and I make way too many cookies when I’m writing – and I’ve got the best book trailers in the universe – for reals! Check them out here: http://www.kimberleygriffithslittle.com. Please find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Youtube.
Awards: Southwest Book Award, Whitney Award for Best Youth Novel, Whitney Award Finalist and Association of Mormon Letters of Art Award, Bank Street College Best Books of 2011, 2013, and 2015, a Crystal Kite Finalist, and New Mexico Book Award Finalist.
Sing Sweet Sparrow
Angela J. Townsend
Publication date: January 12th 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult
With the odd disappearance of her parents, Gussie Gibson has lived her entire life with her granny on a peaceful pecan orchard, owned by the meanest man in all of Georgia—Mr. J.P. Combs. Granny teaches Gussie many valuable life lessons as a black woman growing up in the still-segregated south. Mr. Combs is an evil underhanded banker who takes liberties beyond his privilege. When Granny dies, Combs informs Gussie she owes him back rent—but he wants much more than money for payment—and more than Gussie can live with.
After defending herself against his sexual advances, Gussie flees to escape certain vigilante justice when she meets a charming, handsome stranger, Sam Johnson, who is just returning from World War II.
Gussie and Sam’s friendship is short-lived when Mr. Combs hunts her down and drags her back to Green Ridge, driven by his craving for revenge and a grudge too deep to comprehend. Gussie fights to return to Sam and his love, but it seems, no matter where she runs, danger follows close on her heels, in the troubled South where cruelty disfigures the human spirit and love is a dim beacon of hope.
No one on this earth deserves to die more than Mister J.P. Combs.
Mister Combs is the vice president of the Green Ridge Union Bank, and the nastiest man in all of Georgia. He robs from the old, the poor, the sick, and the weak. Granny and I been working for the Combs family for as long as I can remember. Granny taught me how to wash their silver and fancy china so it comes out shiny, how to iron the tablecloths, and how to fold the napkins just how Missus Combs likes it done.
Missus is a nice woman. She treats Granny and me right. On Sunday she takes her coffee into the kitchen to visit with us after church. But not Mister. He hates colored folks. He says we don’t know our place.
Mister never takes his eyes off of me. It’s like he’s making sure I don’t stop to take an extra breath while I’m working, so he’s getting his money’s worth. Granny and I tend the Combs’ house for just sixty-nine cents an hour. That’s a lot less than most maids. The trouble is that Granny is old, tired and slow. Her feet don’t work so good no more. We got to take what work we can get.
Mister comes home early every Friday. He likes to lean against the stove while he peels an apple with a buck knife. He chews the pieces and leers at me while I polish the silver. I’d love to stuff that apple in his mouth and stick him in the stove. I gotta learn to control my temper, sometimes it’s hard, especially when Mister’s at me. Don’t know from one day to the next what’s gonna happen. Somedays I wish I could explode and blow up the whole world.
Granny knows I got a bad temper. It worries her. She takes me into Mister’s parlor and stares at me with her brow all crinkled up. “Gussie child, you keep outta Mister’s way,” she whispers. “I don’t like how he looks at you.” Granny shakes her head in disgust. “You’re only sixteen years old. Don’t you let him get close. You stay by me—you hear?”
I can’t look at Granny. My cheeks burn with shame.
Granny takes hold of my hands. “You listening to me, child?”
I nod. She leans in real close, her bottom lip quivers in a two-tone brown. I stare at the wrinkles around her mouth, and at her bottom row of teeth all worn down. I worry about how much longer she’ll live. I don’t want her to leave me. “I see the way he’s been looking at you,” Granny says. “Like you the hottest thing on the lunch menu.” Granny lifts my chin so that our eyes meet. “If he comes round, and you alone—you tell him you got chores to do.” Granny squeezes my hands tighter. “His heart ain’t nothing but a thumpin’ gizzard. He’ll hurt you if he has a chance. You stay away from him. You understand me, child?”
I nod again. “Yes, Ma’am.”
The lines around Granny’s eyes soften. She cradles my head in her knobby hands. “You the only thing I got in this world, Gussie. I done lost my boy. I don’t plan on losing you too.”
My lips tremble. “I know Granny, I’ll be careful.” I cross my heart. “I promise.”
She hugs me round the waist, but I don’t hug her back too hard. She’s so frail, I worry that she’ll break. I press my face into her chest. Her heart pounds against my ear and I feel her shaking. All this worry isn’t good for her old body. I don’t want to let go of her. I bury my head into her shirt collar. She smells like shea butter and sweet ginger. Granny runs her hand over my head. Her fingers untangle the curls in my hair, the ones she makes with the pressing comb heated on the stove every morning. Granny pulls away from me and sits down. She never sits at Mister’s house. She looks so tired.
“Granny, you okay?”
She closes her eyes for a moment, placing a hand on her chest. “Take me home, child.”
I help her up, and hold tight to her thin hand as she walks unsteady beside me. My heart twists over Granny working so hard at her age. How she worries over me.
We head outside and make our way down the path through the pecan grove. The path is uneven and it’s hard for Granny to walk. Her toes are twisted like tree roots with arthritis. I wish I could carry her home so her feet don’t have to hurt. She holds onto my arm as I help her up the front steps of the shack we rent from Mister.
We go inside but Granny won’t rest. She puts supper on the stove, and waves me away when I try to help. She lowers herself onto her rocking chair while the beans boil on the back burner. Granny releases a heavy sigh, closes her eyes and stops rocking. I touch her hand and she don’t move. I can’t breathe. My soul dissolves into darkness. I know she’s gone but I can’t face it. I run to Mister’s house. Missus lets me use their telephone and I call for help.
Half an hour later, Granny’s church ladies come and take her away while my heart rips into pieces. I sit in the dark staring at her empty chair, at her shoes, at the knitting needles sticking in the ball of yarn. I close my eyes willing it all to be gone, for the day to start over with Granny alive. I wish life could be like a chalk board where you can erase the bad parts and start over. Hours pass with nothing but the ticking of the clock. I look out the window surprised to see the world still going on even though Granny isn’t.
After the funeral, I lay up in the bed and pray that God kills me so I can be with my Granny—the only mother I’ve ever known—the only person I ever loved. I don’t sleep. I don’t eat. I don’t go to work. I just don’t care about living anymore. When Granny died, something came apart and broke inside me. Fell off a shelf and shattered to the floor. And I just can’t put all the pieces back together.
A week passes and Mister comes looking for me. He’s mad that I haven’t been to work. He yells his fool head off, saying I gotta pay the rent or get out. I don’t got no money and nowhere to go. I don’t know why God don’t come down and take me to Granny. What kind of a life do I have to look forward to anyhow. I don’t want to be stuck in some white man’s kitchen the rest of my life.
Mister comes back the next day, but I already got my bags packed. He looks at me and frowns. “Where you think you’re going?”
I just shrug.
“You come on home with me. You can have a room in exchange for looking after the house. You got that, girl?”
I nod my head. I don’t know what else to do.
I don’t got no choice.
A lonesome sparrow hatches inside of me, flies out my mouth, and pulls out my insides as it leaves, taking all my happiness with it.
Missus shows me to my room. Mister follows and stands in the hallway, watching. Missus hands me a washrag and towel, shows me where to put my things, and then pulls back my bed sheets.
“I’m so sorry about your Granny. She was a good woman and I‘ll miss her,” Missus says. “Try to get some sleep, child.”
She closes the door behind her, but I hear Mister breathing through the thin wood. I get undressed and slip my nightgown on as quickly as I can, wash my face and jump into bed, hoping he’ll go away. As I close my eyes I see Granny, smiling at me. Tears fill my eyes and roll down the sides of my face into my ears.
Later that night, the feeling of being watched startles me awake. In the moonlight, Mister stands in the doorway. Clamping my eyes tight, I try to shut him out. The wood floor groans as he creeps closer. The smell of whiskey and cheap cologne fill the room. His cigar breath comes in rapid, short bursts, followed by a wheezing rattle. My heart jumps like a cricket and blood pulses in my ears. The bed shifts under Mister’s heavy frame. I lay still as death, petrified, pretending to be asleep.
Mister leans over me, dripping sweat from his forehead onto my face. I fight to keep my eyes closed. I don’t want to look at him. He flips back the thin sheet. The bedsprings squeak like a flock of birds.
“J. P., are you coming to bed?” Missus yells.
Mister lets out a grunt and curses under his breath. The bed squeaks again as he moves away. The sounds of his heavy footsteps echo across the floor and the smell of whiskey grows fainter. Springing from the covers, I close the door, lock it and slip on my clothes. I climb back into bed, pull the blankets up under my chin and try to erase what just happened from my mind. I stare at the moonlit ceiling, praying that God will keep me safe or take me to heaven so I can be with Granny.
A few hours later, the grandfather clock in the hallway strikes midnight, waking me up. Heavy footsteps shuffle outside my door again. The doorknob moves slowly from left to right then rattles fast against the lock.
I don’t sleep the rest of the night.
The next day Mister slinks up behind me in the kitchen, grabs my shoulders and yanks me backward until his big gut presses against my backside. My legs tremble when his hot breath brushes my ear. “I can get into that room anytime I like, so you better be ready” he growls. His rough tongue flicks at the base of my neck. I swing my elbows back hard and pull away. I return to my chores, paying him no mind at all. I may be his house girl, but he don’t own me. I won’t give in without a fight.
Angela is a multi-published, award-winning author of young adult and middle grade books. She has a motion picture based on her award-winning novel, The Forlorned, coming out soon, and a second motion picture project in production for River of Bones.