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Blood and Ink Book Tour

bloodandink600

Author Name: Jack Bridges

 

Book Name: Blood and Ink

 

Release Date: June 24, 2015

Blurb:

 

Annie’s grandmother knows old secrets, and Annie is strong and smart. Together, they keep the family safe through the drought. Then bigger trouble comes to their city, and Annie will need more than quick thinking if they are going to survive. Can Annie learn Grandma’s secrets in time?

 

 

Pages or Words: 16,100 words

 

Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult, Post-Apocalypse, Near Future, Climate Fiction

 

Excerpt:

Clouds rolled in, white and puffy in the winter blue sky, but there was no moisture in the air, or in the sand beneath Annie’s bare feet.

 

“Rain?” Annie asked hopefully, and Grandma shook her head and looked sad.

 

Annie knew why. Without the potatoes and beans from the garden, without the lupins and sunflower seeds, all they’d have to live on would be gruel. There’d been no rain for months, even though the days were short and the nights cold, and it was nearly time for the summer to come back.

 

“Gruel will make us sick,” Annie said. “Will the government make rain?”

 

Grandma swore, something vicious and rude, under her breath. Annie was made sure to remember the word, because it was a new word and Annie collected those words.

 

They stood, studying the empty clouds over their heads while the chickens fought over the scraps, and even in the middle of winter the sun still hurt Annie’s bare arms.

 

“What did you use to do to make rain?” Annie asked Grandma. “Before?” Grandma knew things that everyone else had forgotten, and she didn’t go to church. “Is there magic?”

 

Annie had to whisper that, because Mum was a Believer, and she’d shout or pray or something if she thought Annie knew about magic.

 

The rainwater tank leaned against the back wall of the house. Grandma shuffled over and whacked it with her cane. The metal drum rang loudly.

 

“There’s magic,” Grandma said.

 

 

Sales Links:

http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=200&products_id=4414

 

 

 

About the author:

 

Jack Bridges is a writer and academic who lives in Perth, Western Australia, and works at a small university teaching students the basics of research methodology. He sometimes hides in a shack in the forest and makes complex plans for surviving environmental apocalypses.

 

Where to find the author:

 

Facebook Author Page: xhttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Jack-Bridges/463367120505003

Website: www.jacklanebridges.com

Other: http://www.redbubble.com/people/jackbridges

 

Goodreads Link:

Publisher: Torquere Press

Cover Artist: BSClay


Tour Dates & Stops: June 22, 2015

Parker Williams, BFD Book Blog, Andrew Q. Gordon, Kimi-Chan, Havan Fellows, Happily Ever Chapter, The Hat Party, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Molly Lolly, Book Reviews and More by Kathy, Emotion in Motion, Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Bayou Book Junkie, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Will Parkinson, Redz World, Rainbow Gold Reviews, TTC Books and More, Velvet Panic, Iyana Jenna

 

 
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By |June 22nd, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

Indigent Charity Event

indigent cover

Five authors have joined together to produce stories evoking both loss and hope. Reaching deep within their fiery imaginations, these stories take flight and showcase dreams for a better today and future for LGBT everywhere. Embodying a diverse set of talents and stories, this volume sets out to grab the hearts of those who read the m/m genre and to offer hope to LGBT across the globe. By offering this book, we hope to support the following charities across the globe:

 

GALA, South Africa

Lost-n-Found, USA

Youth Off The Streets, Australia

The Albert Kennedy Trust, United Kingdom

 

This anthology edited by Louis J Harris and Kimi D Saunders

 

Indigent has been produced to entertain and delight and all the stories leave the reader with a “feel good” state of mind.

 

Frederick Eugene Feeley Jr’s “Indigent”, after which the anthology takes its name, brings the reader to witness an apocalyptic war between the good and evil that rages in one man’s mind. Soon he will know that his problems are insignificant compared to those of others.

 

Mari Evan’s “Stumbling into Forever”, involves a handsome young vampire who will learn that just a sip of blood is the difference between love and freezing to death.

 

Leona Windwalker’s “If Only the World”, takes rejection to another level. A heartbreaking story that is turned on its head by the kindness of strangers.

 

Shaye Evans’ “Rescued”, is a contemporary social statement about the aftermath of a young man’s life after his drink has been spiked at a bar.

 

  1. LeAnne Phoenix’s “Higher Love”, takes us on an almost spiritual journey through the minds of two people who have never met, but have spoken on a telepathic level. When they do come together, that bond is already cemented, but there is a price to pay.

 

From CoolDudes Publishing – we’re making an effort to support our gay community. Are you?

 

Buy links: Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/Indigent-Charity-Frederick-Eugene-Feeley-ebook/dp/B00Y1JLCMQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433349266&sr=8-1&keywords=indigent

 

Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Indigent-Charity-Frederick-Eugene-Feeley-ebook/dp/B00Y1JLCMQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1433349266&sr=8-1&keywords=indigent

 

Book trailer

 

 

Excerpt

 

“You should have called a taxi for me,” I paused. “I can’t afford an ambu-

54

Indigent

lance bill.”
“You passed out. A taxi would have taken ages—we could have lost you by

then. You were dehydrated and your heart was all off and…” he trailed off and shook his head, then looked at me. “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure.”

He glanced at me as he placed a strip of tape over the bandage and my skin. “Why can’t you pay for it? I mean…I just want to make sure you’re not in with the wrong crowd. I know what college is like—you want to experiment, find new things.”

“How do you know that I’m like the rest of the college students?” I mut- tered. “You don’t know me.”

“Are you?”

“I already know who I am and what I want—I don’t need to experiment. And if you want to know, I can’t afford it because I came out to my par- ents when I was sixteen and I’ve been working to put myself through college since…”

Speaking of my past brought back all the pain but he didn’t need to know the full story. I didn’t want him to know. I could only imagine what people would think if they knew, because what I thought of myself was enough to tell me others would think worse.

“Oh.” From the corner of my eye, I watched as Chris nipped his lip ring then he looked away.

“Yeah, oh.” I nodded, staring at the end of the bed. “That’s what they all say.”

“Well, I used your phone and called your parents. They’re on their way.”

My head snapped to faced him by the bed. “Dad’s coming here?” I almost shouted the words. I hadn’t ever expected to see the man again.

“I don’t know. Your Mom answered.”
“Right…Great.”
For a brief moment my hopes had risen only to shatter on crashing back to

earth. I should have known. My father wouldn’t want anything to do with me. But for a single moment I had hoped maybe the man had given me a second chance. But of course, he wouldn’t. My father was stubborn and once he had an idea in his head, it didn’t change.

A silent moment passed between us. He played with the ring around his lip, flicking it with the tip of his tongue. Then he put an end to the silence. “If you can’t pay the bill I’ll pay it for you,” he whispered.

“In exchange for what?”

He remained silent for more than a couple of seconds. His brows pulled together in confusion. He stared at the white hospital floor.

 

What was so confusing about my question? I didn’t expect to be given anything and since my parents had kicked me out, I had never been given anything either. Suddenly, all the tension in Chris’ face washed away and he looked up to meet my gaze. His eyes were dark, like molten chocolate. It stirred my insides.

“Were you involved with survival sex?” he asked.

My eyes widened. My heart beat faster. The monitor beside the bed re- corded the abrupt pitch. “N-n-no,” I spat quickly, but the stutter in my answer would have told Chris the truth.

– Rescued, Shaye Evans

 

Bios:

Untitled

F.E. Freeley Jr:

F.E. Feeley Jr was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and lived there for twenty years before joining the military. He is a veteran of the US Armed Services; having done a tour in support of Operation Iraq Freedom in 2002-2003, he turned college student, pursuing a degree in political science. He now lives in Southeast Texas where he is married to the love of his life, John, and where they raise their 1½ year old German shepherd, Kaiser.

 

As a young man, reading took center stage in his life, especially those novels about ghosts, witches, goblins, and all the other things that went bump in the night. His favorite authors include such writers as Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Anne Rice, whose work allowed him to travel to far off places and meet fascinating and scary characters. As a gay man, he wishes to be able to write good fictional literature for those who love the genre and to write characters that readers can relate to. All in all, he is a cigarette smokin’, whiskey drinkin’, rock and roll lovin’, tattoo wearin’ dreamer of a man with a wonderful husband who puts up with his crap and lets him write his stories.

 

Author links:

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/F.E.-Feeley-Jr./e/B00B3ERX34/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

 

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6806438.F_E_Feeley_Jr_

 

 

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/johnandfrederick.forgasfeeley?fref=ufi

 

 

Twitter

https://twitter.com/fefeeleyjr

 

 

Leanne

Leona Windwalker:

 

Leona is a longtime staunch supporter of human rights and environmental causes. Her favourite genre to read is M/M fiction and she particularly enjoys science fiction, fantasy, and action/suspense subgenres–especially if they have a nice seasoning of romance. She has far too many books on her Kindle, has overloaded her phone with even more and, when not reading, writing, being driven to distraction by her children, or being overlorded by her three cats, can be found trying to locate the portal that the sock monster uses to steal socks from her dryer.

 

Amazon

 

 

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10920862.Leona_Windwalker

 

 

 

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Leona-Windwalker/890405037684824?ref=bookmarks

 

 

 

Twitter

https://twitter.com/ShroudedDancer

 

equal

 

Mari Evans:

 

 

Mari is a wife and the proud mother of a very active daughter, two

dogs and two cats. She’s a very social kind of girl, who loves to talk. It’s both her best and worst quality.

From the moment she could read, she devoured books. Anything goes, as long as it has a happy ending.

There were always stories swirling around in her head and as a child she liked to lay in bed and let the characters have their story and happy ending. It wasn’t until 2013 that she actually tried to put one of the whole stories down and submit it to a publisher. To her own surprise and excitement it was accept- ed. This gave her the drive to keep going.

The decision to write m/m was made when a friend told a story about a young gay man that struck a chord, even as her husband had already encour- aged her to try it earlier.

Now she found her passion, having already found the love in her family and friends, her life is completely chaotic, crazy but wonderful.

 

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Mari-Evans/e/B00YB3I2R0/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_5?qid=1433961141&sr=1-5

 

 

 

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8394560.Mari_Evans

 

 

Facebook

 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mari-Evans/1412324675676352?fref=ts

 

 

  • LeAnne Phoenix

 

  1. LeAnne Phoenix would tell you that the worst time of her life was the two years that she attempted to take off from writing. If you asked her to explain exactly why she did such a thing, you would most likely get the mad attempt to arch an eyebrow like her dad and then a shake of the head as she told you it was unlucky to speak of such things. Suffice it to say, it will never happen again!

 

Born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas in the mid-1970’s, Ms. Phoenix was young and wild (and even free!) during the crazy wondrous decade known as the 1980’s and the even crazier but now grungy decade of the 1990’s. Music is second only to the muses that live and breathe to fill her mind with beautiful men, and music always helps them to tell their stories. She is never without her iPod or her computer no matter where she goes, although, she does like to hike and take pictures of the sky and the moon, and even the occasional shot of the sun through the branches of a tree.

 

An avid cat lover, Ms. Phoenix has been owned by many throughout her life, though her current owner is one Lily-Rose, who really would like for her to step away from the keyboard and pay her some attention! After all, hasn’t she earned it?

 

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/mleannephoenix

Twitter at https://twitter.com/MLPhoenix

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8302010.M_LeAnne_Phoenix

 

 

Shaye Evans:

 

Shaye Evans is a proud Australian author of the M/M Romance genre. She prides herself in not only writing the genre but also reading it. As an author and supporter to the LGBT community, Shaye wishes to inspire anyone who reads her books and hope they help in whatever insignificant or significant way.

 

At age nineteen, Shaye found her love in the genre when she read her first M/M and was instantly hooked, but it took her an entire year to begin writing her own. She has had five of nine short stories accepted to be published in 2014 alone. Something she is very proud to admit–and who wouldn’t be?

 

When not writing or plotting her next piece, Shaye keeps busy by either reading one of over four-hundred books in her collection, designing her next book cover, or shopping. She one day dreams of being a paramedic and her books making it to the movies!

 

Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Shaye-Evans/e/B00RNVZRT8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_4

 

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/11012242.Shaye_Evans

 

 

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/ShayeLEvans?fref=ts

By |June 21st, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

Every Inferno Book Tour

EveryInfernoORIG

 

 

Author Name: Johanna Parkhurst

 

Book Name: Every Inferno

 

Release Date: July 24, 2014

Blurb(s):

Depressed. Defiant. Possible alcoholic. These are just a few of the terms used to describe fifteen-year-old Jacob Jasper Jones. Lately, though, JJ has a new one to add to the list: detective. He’s been having strange dreams about the fire that killed his parents ten years ago, and he thinks he finally has the clue to catching the arsonist who destroyed his family.

A murder investigation isn’t the only thing the dreams trigger for JJ. They also lead to secret meetings with his estranged sister, an unlikely connection with a doctor who lost his daughter in the fire, and a confusing friendship with McKinley, a classmate of JJ’s who seems determined to help him solve the mystery.

All JJ wants is to shake the problems that have followed him since that fire, and he’s convinced he must catch the arsonist to do it. But as JJ struggles to find the culprit, he sees there’s more than one mystery in his life he needs to solve.

 

 

Pages or Words: 180 pages

 

Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Mystery, Romance, Young Adult

 

 

Excerpt:

A smell that wasn’t there before filled the bathroom.

JJ drew in a deep breath, trying to match the scent to anything that might already exist in his short memory. It was a difficult scent to describe: like pine trees, but not the real ones in his backyard. More like the smell of the stuff his father used to clean the kitchen floor.

He tried to push off the sudden sense of apprehension that filled him; who cared if someone else had also come into the restroom? This was his town, the tiny world he had spent his entire five years in, and there was a good chance he knew whoever else had just joined him.

Even if he didn’t know anyone who went around smelling like pine trees.

JJ took a few breaths and flushed the toilet, eager to get back to the movie and his parents.

As he shoved the door of the stall open, though, the scent grew stronger. The person who had brought the scent in with him—a man—was facing the wall across the room. He was wearing a backpack and hugging his arms to his chest.

“I did it… I did it,” the man whispered. “I finally did it.”

JJ moved to the sinks, more eager than ever to return to the comforting gaze of his mother. But the noise of his sneakers against the tile alerted the man to JJ’s presence, and now the stranger was turning around to face him.

It was the oddest sensation to only be able to see certain details of a person: blue jeans, a red long-sleeve shirt. And then a detail so clear it almost seemed to be the only thing JJ could see: the outline of a long and winding paintbrush, tattooed on the man’s hand, snaking down from just below his thumb to where it disappeared beneath the cuff of his shirt.

But nothing else. No other details were there. The man was faceless. The color of hair was… what was it? It was as if it had never been there.

Then JJ could see nothing, and all he could hear was the man shouting. Something about how JJ shouldn’t be there, and he couldn’t know, and it wasn’t time yet….

The pain began then. Horrible, burning, pain, and JJ knew he was screaming, but he couldn’t hear himself over the roaring in his ears. He needed to find the door, the door, where was the door—

 

 

Jacob Jasper Jones woke up sweating, twisted into a trap of sheets and blankets. He frantically cast his eyes around the walls of his bedroom, looking for anything that would remind him he was not in that restroom again. There was the Modest Mouse poster, his bookshelf, the old dresser that had once belonged to his aunt—yes, he was safe.

Safe from what? Or who?

JJ quietly wrestled with the covers, thankful that he wasn’t a screamer and didn’t seem to have woken Aunt Maggie up. If it was up to JJ, Maggie would never know that JJ was having dreams about that day again.

They’d started about a month ago. Before then JJ had never dreamed anything specific about the fire. The nightmares were always vague and mushy, filled with flames and noise and not much else.

Not like this dream. This dream was clear and specific and so real it was as though JJ was reenacting every detail from that day. Right up until the end, when the faceless man turned and everything went black.

It was so vivid that JJ was starting to think it might be more than just a dream. That it might be a memory.

 

 

Sales Links:

 

Harmony Ink Press: http://www.harmonyinkpress.com/books/every-inferno-by-johanna-parkhurst-96-b

Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4900

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Every-Inferno-Johanna-Parkhurst-ebook/dp/B00M3CDNB6/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/every-inferno-johanna-parkhurst/1120002906?ean=9781627987981

 

 

About the author:

Johanna Parkhurst grew up on a small dairy farm in northern Vermont before relocating to the rocky mountains of Colorado. She spends her days helping teenagers learn to read and write and her evenings writing things she hopes they’ll like to read. She strives to share stories of young adults who are as determined, passionate, and complex as the ones she shares classrooms with.

Johanna holds degrees from Albertus Magnus College and Teachers College, Columbia University. She loves traveling, hiking, skiing, watching football, and spending time with her incredibly supportive husband.

 

 

Where to find the author:

 

Website: www.johannaparkhurst.com

Twitter: @johannawriteson

Tumblr: http://johannawriteson.tumblr.com/

 

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22091645-every-inferno

Publisher: Harmony Ink Press

Cover Artist: Reese Dante


Tour Dates & Stops:

9-Apr

Multitasking Mommas

 

16-Apr

Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

BFD Book Blog

 

23-Apr

Inked Rainbow Reads

 

30-Apr

Hearts on Fire

 

7-May

Prism Book Alliance
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By |May 7th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

LGBTQ Push Back Fundraiser

giveaway poster

http://diversereader.blogspot.com/2015/04/lgbtq-push-back-charity-giveaway.html

 

LGBTQBannerFB

 

By |April 18th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

The Grim Life Book Blast

 

GrimLife[The]FS

Interestingly I have been getting mixed but positive reviews for my latest book THE GRIM LIFE. I wasn’t sure how people would feel about another gay teen suicide book, especially one with heavy Christian overtones—you can tell that by the pic because the M is clutching a Bible, LOL. Overall, I am quite pleased that despite a few complaints (mostly from those disliking the biblical references) that people are enjoying Max and Kody.

I suppose this is a touchy topic for many, which is why I chose to opt for a new pen name. Yeaaaah, KD Worth is just a new name, same old writer. But as my other self (Deanna Wadsworth) it’s all sex sex sex.

But I am pleased that folks are enjoying the positive message, and more importantly anticipating a sequel. There has always been a sequel in the works, but until I have a hard signed contract, or the publisher has a hard manuscript, nothing can ever be official. I am almost finished with book 2, and hope that it is received with the same open mind as THE GRIM LIFE.

What about you? Looking for something a little different? I hope you give my new book a shot, you might cry a bit, but in the end you will be assured that hope, and love are very, very real.

~Deanna

 

K.D. Worth has always considered herself to have the heart of a teenager with an old soul. When not talking to the characters living in her head, she loves to hang out at her favorite townie bar then go dancing and partying with her husband and friends. There is always music playing in her home, and if it’s too loud you’re too old! On the flip side, K.D. enjoys spending time in her vegetable garden, canning the food she grows, and making homemade jams and jellies. She also is known to crochet washcloths and blankets for her closest friends and smiles when they tease her for her “grandmotherly” ways. These two different sides to her personality create a layered tapestry of life experience that brings depth and believability to the characters she writes. She loves to hear from her fans almost as much as she loves her cocker spaniels. You can find her on Facebook or get updates about upcoming books on her website.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kdworthauthor

Twitter: @kdworth_author

Website: kdworth.com

AMAZONHarmony Ink PressDreamspinner Press │               All RomanceBarnes & Noble

 

 

THE GRIM LIFE

Max Shaw is dead.

Well, sort of.

After dying on prom night, Max was recruited by a mysterious tattooed angel named Slade to join a group of teenage reapers. Cocky and sarcastic, Max thinks he has his afterlife together, but the moment Slade assigns him to his first suicide case, everything changes.

Christian college student Kody Michaels is struggling to make sense of his life and his faith. After a failed suicide attempt at an antigay camp, Kody is determined not to fail again. Tired of disappointing his family and God, he is going to end his life once and for all.

But in a split-second decision, Max saves Kody—defying the rules of a reaper.

Max believes his only concern is convincing Kody that God loves him just the way he is, so he can save him from a hellish afterlife as a shade. Little does Max know, some shades have found a way to walk among the living as wraiths. These evil wraiths know Kody has been slated for death, and they have another, darker purpose for him.

Max has only one night to save Kody before one of Slade’s team finishes the job Max lacked the courage to complete.

 

EXCERPT:

Some days being a reaper was the worst job in the universe.

Most of the time I’m okay with being dead, though I won’t lie, it took me a while to accept my new life would never be that of a normal teenager. The night Slade recruited me and the authorities carted my mortal remains off to the morgue for my parents to identify, my life had taken a very strange twist.

Weird and depressing but wonderful at times too.

I didn’t know the exact number of reapers on this side of life who helped people pass over, but there were a lot of us. I answered directly to Slade. If you caught those rare glimpses of his real power, he was one scary reaper/angel. He’d never clarified what he was, so I usually went with angel. In a weird way, it sort of suited him, despite his fixation with motorcycle attire and ink. I figured out real quick his tattoos changed according to mood, as did his weapon choice. One day he toted cowboy guns and another, a samurai sword. No amount of incessant questioning ever produced an answer as to why an angel needed weapons, but it didn’t stop me from asking.

Slade wrangled a team of dead youths, each of us around my death age of sixteen. He’d confided in me once that when he saw my spirit standing in the road, he knew I was no ordinary death. I was special and had a bigger purpose.

As far as I could tell, however, I was no different than my fellow reapers. Slade often said, “Max, it takes a special soul to do what we do, and you’re one of the best I’ve ever seen.”

But tonight I hated my job.

I really, really hated it.

Every day, members of our team received files with our charges—aka a list of those we would deliver to heaven. Cases sometimes changed midshift, and then Slade would send us somewhere else, but more often than not everything went as expected, and we reapers rarely saw our boss. Slade was off doing literally only God knew what. All holy missions were on a need-to-know basis, and frankly, we had all been told many times, we did not need to know.

Depending on how complicated the crossover was expected to be, a reaper could help up to thirty people in one shift. Young humans and accidental deaths like mine took the most time. Generally, the elderly were more than ready to head up to the big golf course in the sky, and their cases, paperwork and all, could be wrapped up in less than half an hour.

Yet today I had been given one charge—Kody Michaels.

Our caseload had been unusually light recently, but I’d never been given one death for a shift. I should’ve suspected something wasn’t right.

Now, staring at Kody standing on a bridge, I suddenly understood.

My first suicide.

Damn you, Slade.

Quite a bit taller than me, Kody had dark brown hair and a slim build. His face was screwed up in a horrific agony as he studied the long drop to the river below. He muttered nonsensical noises under his breath, whimpers or maybe a prayer? I had no idea. Whatever he said, he was quite fervent about it, and his desperation sent a stab of grief through me.

I covered my mouth with a hand, fighting back the unexpected swell of human emotions I shouldn’t have anymore. But no amount of training could’ve prevented the achy sensation of hopelessness from surfacing. Kody’s shaking hands gripped the railing of the bridge, his blue eyes locked on the rushing water below.

Swallowing the lump in my throat, I looked down to the boy’s chosen fate. The river ran high from heavy rains, but not high enough to hide the large rocks jutting up like swords, ready to end a life. I shivered with trepidation and a suddenly cool breeze.

Movement near the edge of the riverbank caught my eye.

I squinted into the darkness and swore something moved, shifting within the shadows. Was someone down there? But when I blinked, the shadow was gone. Probably just an animal or the moonlight playing tricks on my eyes.

Furiously, I wiped tears from my face, trying to get ahold of myself. But when I saw Kody’s face, they just kept coming. Reapers weren’t supposed to hurt for our charges because we didn’t fear death.

We were death.

The roar of an engine startled me, and I jumped as a car approached us.

The headlights illuminated Kody in a macabre image, every detail seared onto my memory—the purple T-shirt, the slim-fit jeans. His shoes were untied, and his long eyelashes were matted with tears. When the light flashed across the wetness on his red cheeks, I saw something in his eyes—a wish that the driver might stop and help him? Had he been praying after all?

But there was no saving his mortal life.

Not if I was already here.

In less than an instant, the motorist was gone, never even slowing. I had not imagined the glimpse of lucidity and hope in Kody’s eyes. When the red taillights faded into the night, however, the boy’s helpless sob filled the air—a sound which would haunt me the rest of my days.

Why hadn’t Slade warned me? He hadn’t been into the office in months, but twenty minutes ago he’d hand-delivered me Kody’s file. And he hadn’t said a thing! No suggestions, no advice, nothing!

Unequipped to deal with this kind of death, I’d never been given an assignment as young as Kody. The file said he’d just turned eighteen—two years older than I’d been when I’d died. What would drive a boy so close to my own age to suicide? What was so bad in his life that he would chose to end it rather than live? I would give anything to live again, to have one more day….

That thought was like a slap in the face.

My own lost youth barreled in on me, drawing old memories to the surface. All this time, I’d believed I had come to grips with my death, but seeing this kid throwing away all the chances I would never have brought a rush of unresolved emotions back with a vengeance.

Anger at this selfish boy and an overwhelming pity warred within me.

Kody was still living, but I would never graduate high school, go to college, or even buy my first car. I would never get to find true love or enjoy my first kiss—with another boy this time. My life had been stolen from me, yet Kody was ready to throw his away?

He let out another sob, ripping at my heart and cutting through any real resentment.

How could I be mad at this boy for taking his own life when he was so visibly broken?

Get a grip, I ordered myself, brushing at the wetness still slicking my face.

Hadn’t I accepted my lot in life by now? I rarely stopped by to watch my family anymore and hadn’t checked up on Debby since she’d gone to California for college. I’d even gotten over my bitterness at dying a virgin—sort of—and generally I enjoyed helping people cross over. I’d even found genuine friends within Slade’s group of reapers. Granted none of them were gay, but still….

What was my problem tonight?

Kody placed one foot on the railing of the bridge, his body trembling as he hoisted himself up. The concrete rail had been wetted from an earlier autumn rain, but his foot was sure. He began to murmur again, his breath visible in the cool air. I felt guilty when I tried to listen in, yet relieved when I could not understand.

Blinking back more tears, I struggled to maintain the businesslike compassion all reapers possessed. All I needed to do was reach out and lay the Touch on him. The long fall would take care of the rest. Then I would find his soul and guide him over.

It was standard procedure.

Yet I couldn’t move, paralyzed by pity and my own flailing emotions.

The boy’s second leg went over the railing, and he sat on the edge staring down and clutching the concrete tightly, his knuckles boney and white.

Briefly, I wondered if I would have to shift down to the riverbank to collect him, or if his spirit would stay on the bridge once the fall or the large rocks and cold water killed him.

Closing his eyes, he took a deep, fortifying breath, uttering one simple word:

“Amen.”

Serenity cleansed away the pain in his face, softening the lines of grief and wilting the tension in his shoulders.

His hands relaxed, letting go.

When he pushed off, I did something I had never done before.

I saved his life.

 

AMAZONHarmony Ink PressDreamspinner PressAll RomanceBarnes & Noble

By |March 30th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments