Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday's Film Adaption: The Fallen Sparrow by Dorothy B Hughes

An escapee from a Spanish prison hunts for his best friend’s killer in New York.

For more than a year, Kit McKittrick languishes in a Fascist prison, his days spent in darkness and his nights tortured by fear of his limping jailer, whose name he never learns. He escapes Spain with the help of Louie Lepetino, a childhood friend who came with him to fight on behalf of the Republican cause. Back in the United States, Kit heads out West to recover from his ordeal, while Louie returns to a life of cafés and cocktail parties in New York. But Kit’s convalescence is cut short when he learns Louie has taken a fatal tumble out of a window, and he journeys to New York to discover who gave his savior the final push.

Only a woman could have led Louie to his death, Kit thinks, and New York is full of femmes fatales. But man or woman, Louie’s murderer should watch out for Kit: He wants vengeance, and he’s willing to kill for it.

Chapter 1
He stared out at the treadmill of windows and the grimy windows stared right back at him. They weren't saying welcome, nor was he giving back any of that welcome stuff. It shouldn't have been that way. He'd been so sick for New York every day and night of those five months on the God-forsaken ranch, his very muscles had ached. Now he was here and all he had to give it was a grimy look multiplied mirrorwise on the rear walls of brick tenement. It wasn't the way he'd thought New York would welcome his return when he'd left it last September. But Louie wasn't dead then.

In the tunnel. That was the way you came into the city of shining towers, through a tunnel. That was the way you ought to come into Manhattan. See the black heart before you were dazzled by the chromium-plated wings and turrets. He smooshed his nose against the cold Pullman pane. It felt good.

There was a moment when the lights failed, there in the narrow corridor where he stood to be first on the platform when the train pulled in. It didn't often happen that way—tunnels weren't any sport on efficient American trains—but this time it did. In that moment of dark, something little bumped against his sleeve, not very hard, and someone's small husky voice murmured, "I beg your pardon."

The dim orange came feebly to light then and Kit saw her hurrying into the Pullman, his Pullman. But she hadn't had a berth in that car on the run in from Chicago. She hadn't been in the diner or the bar or the lounge. If she had he'd have seen her, even feeling as he did. Probably some movie starlet with a snotty keep-out compartment. Even feeling as he did, he leaned backwards from the window now to see her rear view disappearing through his Pullman. He wasn't interested. She had narrow hips under that black dress and her sheer legs were matched beauties. There was only one thing wrong with that picture. He leaned his head against the cold glass. She was a dame. And it was a dame that got Louie.

Louie didn't leap or fall out of any hotel window. Not Louie. Someone pushed him. It had to be a dame. If it weren't, he wouldn't be dead. He wouldn't let any man get the jump on him. He was dead because he was a gentleman. He was a funny guy that way, a gentleman like in old-time books. That was why dames could take him and did take him. He wouldn't hit back. There was a dame in it or Louie wouldn't have been pushed out of a twelfth story window on to Fifth Avenue and 55th Street.

They were in with a little jerk. The porter passed him. Kit picked up the bag between his feet. He was right behind the navy coat and cap, first on the vestibule, first to step into the gray steam of the lower level. He held to his bag as if it had something besides dirty shirts and shaving tackle in it. He wasn't having any wait for the red caps. The cold steamy air slapped his face. He breathed it in and liked its clammy bite. Coldness gave you starch. He'd felt better about things ever since he waked in the February blizzard of Chicago. He hadn't been able to think on the damn ranch; summer in January was cloyingly false. That had been the trouble in Spain, too damn hot. He shut his teeth on Spain.

He had long legs and they took long strides. He was in a hurry now; he'd wasted five weeks as it was. That was how he happened to see the girl again. She went through the gate ahead of him. He wouldn't have known her but he recognized the legs. They were as good as he'd thought. She had a sable coat now, the color of money, and a blob of sable on her head. He saw her legs and the sable and the cloudy black hair on her shoulders. He didn't see her face. She wasn't a big movie star; nobody was taking pictures of her. She didn't have any red cap in tow either and the bag she carried didn't look big enough to hold a nightgown. He wondered why she'd bumped him there in the dark; there'd been plenty of room for the porter to pass him later and the porter would have made three of her. If it was a pickup, she'd changed her mind quickly enough; or he was the wrong guy. A few years ago he might have played follow the leader but not today. He didn't see her after he passed through the gate, and he moved his legs faster now, as if even wondering about a girl had delayed him.

He went through the main terminal like a football player through a weak line, without slowing speed and without being touched. Up the ramp and out to 42nd Street. He stood there only for a breath, catching the lights of New York and the even sharper cold air against him, and he moved again. Ignoring the terminal cabs he walked towards Madison to catch a familiar cruiser.

He said, "Seventeenth precinct headquarters."

The cabbie clinked the meter and eyed him with some doubt. That was Geoffrey's tailor, Geoffrey's college, Geoffrey's clubs. He didn't resemble a policeman's son any more. He didn't even resemble the son of a policeman who'd made the grade of Tammany tycoon.

He pushed open the doors at 163 East 51st and he stood there, his feet spraddled, his chin hard. He asked, "Where's Tobin?"

The cop at the desk eyed him as if he were kind of crazy. He was, at the moment, but the cop shouldn't have known it. He asked back, "Who?"

"Tobin. William Tobin. Inspector Tobin. Toby." The name kept coming out of his mouth like hailstones.

"His office's down at Centre Street," the cop began.

"Don't give me that," Kit said. "He hangs out here. He always has. Ever since he first got his rookie badge and was assigned to this precinct. Where is he?"

The cop took his pen out of his mouth. "Who wants to know?"

He said, "I'm Kit McKittrick."

Maybe the cop recognized part of the name; maybe he merely decided Kit was harmless. He said, "If you're so damn smart, you find him. He might be around somewhere. Usually is." He yawned. "I don't know where he's at. I just come on myself." He opened a tabloid across his face.

Kit let his grip thump to the floor. "Thanks," he said. "Keep an eye on my bag. I don't want it hooked." He pushed through to another room; it smelled worse of golden oak than the first. There wasn't anyone in there. He opened another door into a smaller room with a roll top desk taking up most of it. Tobin wasn't here either. There was only another copper on a bench hiding behind another tab. This one had a Dublin face. He'd be kind to old folks and children but he was big enough to be able to push his knuckles against any crook's map without worrying. He was as big as Kit McKittrick.

He let the tab down an inch and said, "Want something?"

"Where's Tobin?"

"Not here." He wasn't smart like the cop outside; he made matter-of-fact statement, put up the tab screen again. That ended it for him.

It didn't end it for Kit. He demanded, "Where is he? Do you know where he is? If he isn't here and you don't know where he is, what's his home address?"

The cop inched the paper down with righteous reluctance. "You want to see Tobin?"

"Yeah." Kit didn't say: What the hell do you think I'm doing, paying off a bet? He didn't say it because the dumb cop was polite not smart, even if he did prefer the news to Kit's conversation.

"Can I help you out? I'm Sergeant Moore."

It didn't matter who he was and the name didn't mean anything except that the map of Ireland on his face wasn't phony. Kit said, "No. I want to see Tobin."

Moore was ready to return to the sports page. He said, "He's washing his hands or something. He'll be back." He moved his feet off the bench so Kit could sit down. Kit didn't. He stood there with his top coat pushed back and his hands jammed in his trousers pockets. He'd meet Tobin standing on his own two feet and no nonsense about it.

He hadn't seen Toby for maybe fifteen years but he wasn't particularly astonished that the Inspector wasn't as big as he remembered. He himself hadn't been six foot two, weight 187, when he was a twelve-year-old kid. Tobin came in through another door pretty soon. He was thin with a thin face and he couldn't have been more than five eleven. He kept his hat on his head and his cigarette in his mouth. He didn't look like Princeton '18. He was surprised to see a stranger in his private hideout because he put his eyebrows up, but he didn't say anything. He let Kit do that.

Kit said, "You're Inspector Tobin?" He knew it but he wanted to be sure.

Tobin kept on walking around his big desk until he was sitting in the squeaky old revolving chair. He said, "Yeah," without moving his mouth or his cigarette.

"Inspector Tobin, the head of New York City's homicide squad?"

"Yeah." If Tobin was puzzled, his hat hid it.

Kit's voice was loud and harsh. "Why the hell did you give out that Louie's death was accidental?"

Tobin looked up sharp at that and Moore dropped the tabloid. The Inspector's eyebrows were close together. But his voice was quiet "You mean Louie Lepetino?"

"Yeah." Kit stood there firm as a hunk of iron, as if he'd never known what it was to shake and shiver and not be able to stop it.

Tobin pushed his hat over to the other side of his head. "Because it was," he said.

Kit let his voice be very quiet now. "That's a lie."

Sergeant Moore asked perplexed, "Who are you, Mister?"

Kit shrugged him off as if the cop were touching his coat sleeve. "What's that go to do with it?" He said, "For the record, if you have to have it, I'm Kit McKittrick."

Tobin's eyebrows were slanted now. "Old Chris McKittrick's son."

"Yeah. I'm Chris McKittrick's son."

Moore said, "I knew him."

Kit didn't look at him. All the coppers knew Chris McKittrick some time or other. He kept watching Tobin, waiting for an answer.

Tobin gave it when he yawned. Kit knew then that it wasn't going to do any good his coming here with anger for the Inspector. Tobin talked through the second yawn just as if he were some gossipy old hen at a hen party. "I knew Chris myself. So he was your father—"

Kit took the conversation away from Chris. He said, "That hasn't anything to do with my being here. I want to know about Louie."

Tobin didn't yawn now. He opened a penknife and began paring at his thumb nail. "What about Louie?"

"I'm asking you." Kit's anger was solidifying; he was calmer outside but inside he was uglier. "I'm asking you what happened to him? And why you called it an accident?"

"Suppose I ask you what you have—had—to do with Lieutenant Lepetino?" He pared his forefinger next.

Kit's voice was hard. "He was my best friend." Louie was his only friend. The others didn't count, not even Ab; college friends, society friends; bar friends, International Brigade friends. Louie was his real friend. And the god-damned New York police sat on their tails and said it was an accident. He'd never believed they were crooked before because he was Chris McKittrick's son and Chris had pounded the pavements at one time himself. Someone had bought them off. They knew Louie hadn't jumped out of a hotel window.

"Where you been hiding out?" Tobin shot that one.

Moore elucidated. "You weren't at the church. Louie had a swell funeral."

Kit kept his hands clenched in his pockets. "I haven't been hiding out. I've been—" He hesitated. Silly word he had to use, him looking like a well-tailored ox. "I've been recuperating at a ranch out West. I didn't know Louie was dead. No one sent me the papers. I wouldn't know it now only my mother happened to mention it in a letter."

Sandwiched it in between a new hat she was getting from Det and a meeting of London Helpers at the Astor. Somebody she hadn't seen since the night Louie Lepetino was killed. And, more casually, "You know he fell from a window at The George."

Kit had known then it was a lie. And he'd driven eighty miles to Tucson the next day because the University there kept files of the Times. He'd read the whole story and made certain it was a lie. Then he'd driven eighty miles back to the ranch, packed his things, taken the next train east. He couldn't fly because he hadn't that much money on hand. He couldn't cash that large a check so late in the month. And he didn't wire the trustees for money because he didn't want anyone to know he was returning to New York until he arrived and began making trouble. He didn't want the murderer to be ready for him. He couldn't ask Geoffrey Wilhite for help although Geoffrey had been a good stepfather for twelve years, two years less than old Chris had been dead. Too good to him; he couldn't ask more. Moreover, he didn't want his mother to tell him he'd promised to stay a year out West and get on his feet again.

The train had delayed him enough and he didn't like Tobin delaying him further, holding out on him. He made cold statement. "You know damn well Louie didn't kill himself."

Tobin pared complacently. "I didn't say that. I said it was an accident."

"You know damn well he didn't fall out of any window." Louie'd been raised on New York windows, tenement windows, not guarded like hotel windows.

The Inspector shrugged.

Kit took a step forward. "You know damn well he was pushed."

Moore asked then, "Do you have any proof of that?"

"Proof? Proof?" He swung on the copper and then he controlled again. "I knew Louie."

Tobin's voice was flat. "How well'd you know him?"

His mouth curled. "I knew him from the time we wore diapers."

Even Tobin lifted his eyes on that. "Yeah?"

"Yeah." He sucked his breath in. "And I know Louie wouldn't jump out of a window or fall out of one. Not in his right mind."

Tobin got up out of the chair and sat on the edge of the desk. "Maybe he wasn't in his right mind." His eyes were half-shut. "Maybe you know he'd got mixed up in a pretty fast crowd—your kind of a crowd, Princes and Duchesses and what. Or maybe you don't know if you've been playing cowboy for more, than a couple of months. What do you think of that, Mr. Wise Guy?"

Kit held on tight to his pockets.

"Maybe you think you know more than the whole New York homicide squad. Maybe you turned kind of psychic on that dude ranch. Or maybe you just got bored and are trying to drum up a good murder." He scratched a match on his shoe and blew it out. "Arizona lets you rich kids play cowboy as long as you pay for it but I'll be damned if New York is going to start letting you play detective even if your name is McKittrick. Run along now. Forget it. You'll have more fun at the Stork than here."

Kit kept holding on tight until Tobin finished his piece. There was a white line around his lips. He said, "Louie Lepetino was murdered. I'm going to find out who did it. And I'm going to find out why you wouldn't find out who did it."

Tobin scratched another match. His voice was sharper and his eyes hard. "Run along, oil can. You stink."

Kit took his hands out of his pockets. They clenched again and then he relaxed them. He took his time buttoning his top coat. He spoke softly. "All right, gramps. I'll twenty-three skidoo. Your patter's as corny as your ideas." He cocked his hat. "If you ever get the lead out of your feet and the seat of your pants—and your alleged brains, maybe you'll think of some of the answers without being psychic."

He walked loud on the battered wooden floor. He turned around at the doorway. He was even grinning a little. "Louie got me a permit from the Commissioner to carry a gun. His being in an accident doesn't rescind that, does it?"

Tobin said, "Good for a year," and he asked as an afterthought, "Why do you want to carry a gun?"

Kit grinned wider but it wasn't funny. "To shoot people, dope. To shoot people." He was laughing as he banged out, through the empty second room, into the stuffy lighted front. The cop was still reading the paper. Kit swung up his bag, said, "Thanks for nothing, Sarge," and went out into the dark of evening.

He gulped the air thirstily as he walked to Lexington. It seemed hours he'd waited for Tobin but it wasn't. His wrist said eight-twenty. He hailed a cab, gave the Park Avenue address, and settled against the leather. He might as well go home and make some plans before proceeding. It was even possible that his mother might help out. She'd remembered Louie enough to notice his death. One thing certain she couldn't be less help than Tobin. And she ought to know that he'd returned so she could double the grocery order. All at once he felt good. He wasn't at all nervous or depressed. He knew he was going to avenge Louie. Maybe he was psychic after all.

Nazi spies pursue a Spanish Civil War veteran in search of a priceless keepsake.

Release Date: August 19, 1943
Release Time: 94 minutes

John Garfield as John "Kit" McKittrick
Maureen O'Hara as Toni Donne
Walter Slezak as Dr. Christian Skaas
Patricia Morison as Barby Taviton
Martha O'Driscoll as Whitney Parker
Bruce Edwards as Ab Parker
John Banner as Anton
John Miljan as Inspector Tobin
Hugh Beaumont as Otto Skaas



Author Bio:
Dorothy B. Hughes (1904–1993) was a mystery author and literary critic. Born in Kansas City, she studied at Columbia University, and won an award from the Yale Series of Younger Poets for her first book, the poetry collection Dark Certainty (1931). After writing several unsuccessful manuscripts, she published The So Blue Marble in 1940. A New York–based mystery, it won praise for its hardboiled prose, which was due, in part, to Hughes’s editor, who demanded she cut 25,000 words from the book.

Hughes published thirteen more novels, the best known of which are In a Lonely Place (1947) and Ride the Pink Horse (1946). Both were made into successful films. In the early fifties, Hughes largely stopped writing fiction, preferring to focus on criticism, for which she would go on to win an Edgar Award. In 1978, the Mystery Writers of America presented Hughes with the Grand Master Award for literary achievement.




Touched by Love by Melissa Foster

Title: Touched by Love
Author: Melissa Foster
Series: Love in Bloom: The Remingtons #6
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 18, 2016
The Remingtons are a series of stand-alone romances that may also be enjoyed as part of the larger Love in Bloom big family romance collection - Voted BEST BOOK SERIES by Supportive Business Moms, UK

Fiercely independent Janie Jansen has always believed there were worse things in life than being blind, and she's spent her life proving it. She's moved away from her overprotective parents, built a life in New York City, and is one of the top technical editors in her company. That is, until an unfortunate accident turns her life upside down and she's forced to give up the very independence she's worked so hard to achieve.

Firefighter Boyd Hudson pushed past his tragic past and is weeks away from accomplishing his ultimate dream―being accepted into medical school. His intense focus on his goal while working three jobs has taken its toll. With a trail of failed relationships behind him, Boyd is painstakingly aware of his limitations and avoids girlfriends completely―a difficult task given his attraction to one of his co-workers.

When Boyd comes to Janie's rescue, she's forced to accept his help, and Janie discovers there's more to the sexy-sounding office flirt than one-liners. Their connection deepens as Janie heals, but it turns out that Janie isn't the only one who needs healing. Boyd's painful past comes back to haunt him, threatening their relationship and forcing Boyd to reevaluate everything he knows about himself.

BLAINE’S MOUTH BLAZED a path up her inner thigh. His hot breath teased over her wet flesh. Kenya fisted her hands in the sheets, dug her heels into the mattress, and rocked her hips, aching for his talented tongue in the place she needed him most. Blaine lifted smoldering dark eyes, a hint of wickedness shining through, as his tongue slicked over his lips. He was a master at seduction, but Kenya didn’t give a shit about seduction. She wanted to be fucked hard. Now. She needed his—

A large hand landed on Janie Jansen’s desk beside her braille device. She nearly jumped out of her skin and nervously yanked out her earbuds. Holy shit. She was supposed to be finishing a technical editing assignment, not listening to the latest hot romance audiobook.

“Nice article in the newsletter this week, Jansen. ‘The Oxford Comma Revolution.’ Catchy.” Her boss, Clay Bishop, was slightly less arid than a desert, but Janie didn’t mind. He’d hired her to work at Tech Ed Co., or TEC, on a trial basis, and four years later her respect for him had only grown. He was a fair and equitable boss and was currently considering her for a promotion.

It was difficult to spice up a weekly column geared toward grammar and editing, but Janie tried. It was just one more step toward the promotion of technical writer she’d been vying for, a nice step up from editor.

“You’re here late. Trouble with the ARKENS handbook?”

“I’m just catching up on a few things. The handbook is almost done.” Well, technically not almost done, but she’d meet the deadline. She had yet to miss one. She loved editing, but she hadn’t set out to be an editor after college. She’d wanted to be a journalist, but that door had closed and she’d tabled her dream and settled for editing. Usually the intensity of her job didn’t get to her, but after weeks of grueling revisions on this particular medical equipment handbook, she’d needed a short mental break. But Clay would never think to take a break. He was all business all the time, even hours after their workday officially ended.

“Perfect. Don’t forget, Monday afternoon we have the peer review of your writing sample. If that goes well, your promotion will be in the hands of the management team. I’m not worried—you’re always on top of your game.”

“Yeah, she is.” Boyd Hudson’s amused voice brought a smile to Janie’s lips.

Boyd consulted at TEC only a few days a month, and though Janie didn’t know him well, he was quippy and flirtatious, bringing a spark of amusement into her otherwise quiet days.

“Hudson,” Clay said dryly. “Okay, well, it’s late, so…”

“See you Monday, Clay.” Janie listened to his retreating footsteps and let out a relieved sigh.

“He almost caught you again, didn’t he?”

She heard the smirk in Boyd’s voice. “He didn’t catch me last time. I was on my lunch break last week. And besides, I was just studying the nuances of the romance genre.”

“If by ‘study’ you mean ‘getting swept away in the sexy fantasy life of some fictional, ridiculously unattainable hero,’ then yeah, I’d buy that.”

“Why do you trash the genre when you know it’s my favorite escape?” She began gathering her things to leave for the day.

“Because it’s fun. You’re too smart to be a cliché, Janie. You know that, right? Girl who’s blind whiles away hours of her youth reading romances because her parents are too controlling. Grows up wanting a fictional life that can never exist. Break free from it.” His voice rose with excitement. “Let it go. Romance isn’t real. It’s crap writing about fake people.”

She never should have revealed that tidbit about her parents in the break room last month. They’d been talking about their childhoods, and while others had fun stories of hanging out at the mall, or going on spur-of-the-moment outings with groups of friends, Janie had very few spur-of-the-moment anything to share. Her parents worried about every step she made, questioning her safety and whether this or that location would be difficult for her to navigate without them to hold her hand. They’d been a noose around her neck, and it had often been easier to escape into fictional worlds than to battle for the chance to go out.

“And your sci-fi adventures are more real than romance? Ha!” She hefted her bag over her shoulder. “I bet you’ve never even read a romance.”

“Don’t need to. It’s crap.”

“It’s not crap. I bet I could write a romance that you’d not only read, but love.” Janie turned off her computer and braille device.

“Not unless it’s got a heroine who likes sci-fi, is smarter than me, and is into kinky sex.”

“God, you’re a pig. Fine, sci-fi and kinky sex. It shouldn’t be hard to make her smarter than you.” She lifted her brows with the tease. “But if I write it, you not only have to read every single page of it, but you also have to go to the Romance Writers Festival with me in October and stay all day. Plus,” she added, getting excited about the bet, “you have to buy me every romance book I want for a month.”

He placed Janie’s cane in her hand. “A little greedy, aren’t you?”

“Hey, if I’m writing a whole novel, it’s got to be worth it.”

“Fine, but I’m not buying you romance books for a month.”

Author Bio:
Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women’s fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the World Literary Café and Fostering Success. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine. Melissa hosts an Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family. Visit Melissa on social media. Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.


Touched by Love #6


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Release Day Blitz: The Lunam Ceremony by Nicole Loufas

Title: The Lunam Ceremony
Author: Nicole Loufas
Series: Lunam #1
Genre: New Adult, Urban Fantasy
Release Date: May 20, 2016
Born from a curse that allows her kind to shift from human to wolf, Kalysia won the genetic lottery. She is the offspring of an original, born to lead and bound by her duty to produce an heir to continue their bloodline she must leave the only life she has ever known to take part in The Lunam Ceremony. This ancient ritual will solidify her place in the pack and determine who she will love for the rest of her life. There’s just one problem – Kalysia doesn’t believe in love.

That changes when she falls into the hands of Dillan Dukes. The attraction is undeniable. The connection unbreakable. He is everything love at first site is supposed to be, suddenly her future doesn’t look that bad.

Unwilling to give up hope on going to college and having the life her and Dillan fantasize about outside the pack, she reluctantly takes on the role as pack leader. When an unexpected proposal is made that will grant both Dillan and Kalysia their freedom she is willing to put her ego, and her heart aside, to make her dream come true.

One night.

One act of selflessness.

For the life she’s always dreamt about.

Only things are not what they seem.

Can Kalysia and Dillan find happily ever after with the consequences of that night haunting them forever?

Will one fateful night destroy Kalysia’s future along with the future of the pack?

The old woman stops chanting and begins the ritual. “When you pass through the smoke, you will inhale the spirit of your ancestors, and you will inherit the gift that was bestowed upon us by our mother, Gaia. When you step into the moonlight, you will become one with nature and a child of the moon. Gaia gave us the ability to choose the life we want to live. Choose the form that will give life to your pack, your family, your soul. Come forth and be blessed.”

This is my destiny. My life. My choice. I chant the words in my head as I edge towards the canopy. I don’t see the first few phase, but I hear howling echo from the trees. When I’m fifth in line, I see Clio pass through the smoke. She walks swiftly down the path side by side with Tripp. It happens so quickly; I don’t even think Clio feels it. One moment she is walking on two legs, and a split second later, she’s running on four in the moonlight. Tripp is hot on her tail.

When it’s my turn, I look to see who is standing beside me and find Dillan staring back. I wonder if he’s been there all along. Why didn’t I notice him? He smiles, and my stomach burns with desire. I’m so focused on Dillan I don’t remember passing through the smoke. I don’t realize what I’m doing until I see moonlight splayed across the dirt in front of me. I feel Dillan’s eyes on me; he’s waiting for me to go first. I’m stuck, I can’t move. I don’t want to be claimed by nature. I don’t want to be claimed by anything or anyone. I think about Gaia. She turned a pack of wolves into humans to save her from loneliness. We are a species born from one woman’s desire for companionship. You can call it a gift, but it can also be seen as a curse. The wolves had no choice, I do. I lift my foot to step into the light, but instead I step back. I hear Cassie gasp behind me. A voice in my head is chanting. Go. Go. Only I don’t know which direction it wants me to move in. I start to turn around when I feel his hand grip mine.

“We’ll do it together,” Dillan says. We lock eyes, and he gently pulls me forward. We stand at the edge of the canopy. Our past behind us, our future before us, hand in hand. We’ll do it together. His words echo in my head. He is the one. He will be my partner. We’ll do it together.

Author Bio:
Nicole was born and raised in California. She claims to be a San Francisco native, however she’s lived in both Northern and Southern California. She credits her creativity to the fact that she attended 12 schools between kindergarten and her senior year in high school. Her nomadic childhood allowed her to reinvent herself often. Some might say she was a liar. While others see the stories she told as a coping mechanism. Twelve schools, in six cities, in twelve years – give her a break. Today she channels her storytelling ability into writing novels. Long story short – kids that lie become writers.


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Release Day Blitz: The Last Drop by Andrea Perno

Title: The Last Drop
Author: Andrea Perno
Series: Last Drop #1
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: May 20, 2016
They fought to death for the last drop of water. The virus erased the rest. Avery must protect his little brother, Jace, the only family he has left, his last reason for living. But when soldiers are needed, no one cares about the details. He gets Tasered before he can save Jace and himself from being forcefully conscripted.

Two years of cryo-sleep later, the brothers are aboard an aircraft taking the last humans from Earth to a new home, Panacea. Life is good. Food and water are plentiful. Jace is a happy kid who will never see a day of war.

So why does Avery feel like he’s making a big mistake trusting the new commander?

And who or what is Lupète? Why is Commander Smith so intent on making the natives on the new planet sound like bloodthirsty killers?

With his life in danger and Jace lost, Avery must find a way to protect Jace and the natives, too, before human greed and desperation destroy yet another civilization.

“I nearly got killed out there. If I die, if you die…people are being killed, Avery. No one has a good solution to this mess. No one wants to give up the rights to their water. They don’t even want to share. Shit is hitting the fan over all this. Look, Jace is too young for recruitment. Caileen would be the only other person who could sign up so that the family could live on base. Can you picture her in basic? Boy, I bet she’d be the perfect person to go out and shoot people. You aren’t even fit to do that.”

My teeth grind in opposition, but I know he’s right about Caileen. Basic training would eat her alive. She wouldn’t have the guts to shoot someone. It has to be me that stays behind.

“Look, I know you’re against the space program, but it’s our best bet. You think it’s bad in Asik? You think the outsiders living just beyond our walls have it bad? I already talked to Bruce, so I know you’ve been out there…”

“Bruce? You’ve talked to Bruce? How long have you been back?”

“A few days.”

“God, Jeremy. A few days! What the hell! Does Mom know? When were you going to tell us?”

“It doesn’t matter. Probably won’t be staying here for long anyway with the way things are going. Look, what matters is you get back on the space settlement list.”

“Why’s that so important to you? What aren’t you telling me?” I yell at him.

Jeremy glances at the receptionist, who’s beginning to eye us suspiciously. “Stop shouting,” Jeremy whispers and walks me farther away from the lobby desk. “If you’re chosen, the rest of the family gets to go. Don’t you get that? Look, if you knew half the shit that’s going down right now you’d be begging to leave.”

“If it’s so damn important to you, why aren’t you trying to get on the list?”

“You think I haven’t?” Jeremy gives me a pained look. He’s easily smart enough and he’s in great physical condition. It makes no sense. Zimmerman should be standing on his head to have a person like Jeremy. Then it hits me.

“Dad didn’t approve it?”

“I’m his right-hand man,” Jeremy scoffs. “If he only knew, right?” Jeremy’s lips curl in a devious grin and I can’t help but smile back. He’s opposed pretty much everything Dad’s put in place. Jeremy doesn’t support recruiting hundreds of men to use for missions, and he helps sneak food to the outsiders. By how smoothly things went with this morning’s supply drop, Jeremy’s got a whole crew of people on base working covertly against our father.

“So, if you’re his right-hand man, you must know what’s going to happen next.”

Jeremy runs a palm across the top of his shaved head. “Let’s just say our trade didn’t exactly go as planned.” He sucks in a breath and gives me a serious look that makes my stomach drop again. “This is why you need to get your act together. Today! The shit storm is coming and it won’t be long until it hits home.”

Change of Tides #2
With nowhere else to go and separated from their friends, Avery and Clesandra head into the dark mist with Commander Smith hot on their trail. Endless are the rumors about the mist, what lies within it, and its shrouded secrets. Avery cannot worry about those rumors. Other problems plague his mind. Where is Jace? Is he safe? Where are the others? How will they find them without getting lost themselves? Will he and Clesandra live long enough to see their child born? Hints and whispers about Daniel’s past and his whereabouts have now surfaced and are troubling Avery. They remind him of his lost brother, Jeremy, whom Avery strives to become but is afraid he is spiraling down the same path that consumed his father. Avery and Clesandra will discover new truths and lies as they continue their periled journey, including a dark secret that threatens not only the colonists and natives of Panacea but also the entire Universe.

Author Bio:
In an effort to write a biography that won’t bore people stiff, I’ve kept this one pretty simple. I, Andrea Perno (and yes it is very strange referring to myself in the third person) write futuristic science fiction. I am a writer, an illustrator, an artist, an outdoor enthusiast and oh yeah, how could I forget the most important one? I’m a middle school inspirational life coach, disciplinarian, stand-in parent, “stop throwing clay at him and for the love of God put your jacket on it’s cold outside”…teacher.

I grew up in Florida and Pennsylvania where my childhood consisted of riding horses, catching lizards, shooting, hiking, building things, and camping literally all over the U.S.A. My parents are keen on experiencing all that life has to offer. That mentality has really shaped who I have become as an adult. I also grew up watching huge doses of science fiction (thanks, Mom) and home improvement shows (thanks, Dad) Star Trek, Star Wars, Batman, Superman, Bob Vila, Home Improvement, MacGyver...I could go on or I could just say that’s where a ton of my writing inspiration comes from. I love creating worlds for people to escape.

I’m a workaholic with very little free time who’s fueled by chocolate and French Vanilla tea…yes tea, not coffee. I’m allergic to coffee. I will die. Though it may seem like I run all day and have zero time left for anything else, I am savagely loyal and passionate and will drop anything in a heartbeat for friends or family who need me. I, we…are nothing if not for the people around us.


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