SMILES FROM TEARS: A MEMOIR by Nadia Tariqi.

SMILES FROM TEARS: A MEMOIR

by

Nadia Tariqi

 

 

A memoir with soul.

Smiles from Tears is a collection of funny and insightful stories told from the perspective of a growing child, a young woman, and later, a loving mother.

The Mirror

 

My childhood was wasted away in the war between Iran and Iraq. My father was in the military so I’ve spent most of my time without him, just with my mother who was, at the time, sad and depressed. I think you’ll agree that this isn’t a pleasant childhood. Until recently, I was blaming others, especially my mother, for that.

Sometimes something would remind me of my childhood; without expressing the cause, I just turned to aggression or silence.

One day, when the bitter memories of childhood came to me again, unlike always, I felt the need to talk to my mother. At first I was complaining, as usual, and my mom tried to anxiously justify things. Her efforts to calm me only made me madder, and my tone became aggressive.

With eyes filled with tears, I asked her, “Why did you never respect my talents? I always loved literature and poetry, and what did you do? You just suppressed and humiliated me…”

As I was talking to my mother, Amir Reza was standing beside. He shook me while talking loudly to get my attention. His loud voice made me angrier as I kept speaking to my mother. “Why didn’t you listen to me ever? You think it was easy to be ignored by you? I had to call you a hundred times for you to answer me just once!”

My mother was about to burst into tears. She couldn’t say anything.

Just then, Amir Reza’s insistent voice finally got under my skin, and I burst with anger and yelled at him.

“What? What do you want, Amir Reza? Why don’t you leave me alone?”

My anger scared him and he began to cry. In a shaky voice, he told me, “Look, I drew this for you. I just wanted you to see how beautiful it is but you didn’t even look at it…”

For a moment my head swung and I felt like I was stuck up in the air. I looked at my mom. She had a bitter smile on her face as she said, “Why you don’t listen to your son now?”

In a moment all that anger was gone. I couldn’t stop crying as I hugged Amir Reza. My little boy turned up to be my answer again, a mirror to show me myself…

Nadia Tariqi is a poet and author. In 2016 Nadia Tariqi moved from her home country of Iran to Sweden. Despite having had to leave behind her family and friends, she is rebuilding her life and smiling again.

BEYOND ICE by Helene Levey Zemel

BEYOND ICE

by

Helene Levey Zemel

 

After the death of his wife, Dr. Martin Singh has become more and more involved in his work. He and his associate, Professor Jim Harrison, believe that they may be on to some important scientific discoveries that will help to prolong human life. They are intent on keeping their discoveries under wraps for the time being because they don’t believe that the scientific community is quite ready for what their research reveals. They set up a secret laboratory in the beautiful wilderness of the Maine North Woods and are excited because Martin’s son, Pete, and his young bride, Liz, will soon be joining them at the laboratory.

As the story opens up, we find Julie Miller, a Long Island housewife and well respected high school music teacher, looking forward to the start of the new school year. While busy at work preparing her music students for the school’s annual musical production, she suddenly falls ill with a life- threatening illness. This upsets the entire Miller family including family dog, Seymour. Julie turns to the Internet to find support from fellow sufferers. One of the members of her Internet forum recommends that she attend a conference given by the brilliant but reclusive Dr. Martin Singh and his associate. Could this offer Julie hope or might it lead her down a dangerous path?

The Discovery

 

Later that day, Seth returns home from his senior year classes. He pulls up into the driveway and gets out of the car. He rings the doorbell expecting Elena to open the door. When nobody answers, he fumbles for his key, finds it, and opens the door. He is surprised when Seymour does not come to greet him. A sense of panic comes over him. His heart starts pounding in his chest.

Seth leaves the hallway and walks into the living room. He finds the dog limp on the floor. He crouches over Seymour. The dog appears to be breathing. He rubs the dog’s body firmly, and Seymour lifts his head. The dog appears dazed and bewildered.

“What’s the matter, Seymour? What happened to you? Where is mom?”

Seth calls out Julie’s name several times while searching the house. By now he is in a panic, and he breaks out into a cold sweat. He can barely move his fingers as he calls his sister on his cell phone. After two rings, Alexandra answers her cell phone.

“Hi Seth. What’s up?”

“Alex, please come home as quickly as you can. Mom is missing from the house and something seems to be wrong with Seymour.”

“Perhaps mom just took a walk or went out with Aunt Irene.”

“Why would she go out on such a cold day? She would certainly have told us if she had plans with Aunt Irene. Besides Aunt Irene is probably still at school.”

“I don’t know. You’d better call Dad. He’ll know what to do about Seymour. I’m leaving school right now. I should be home in about twenty minutes. Give Aunt Irene a call, too, to see if she might know Mom’s whereabouts. Try to stay calm until I return home.”

Seth ends the call with Alexandra and then calls David at the veterinary clinic. The receptionist answers the telephone and hears the panic in Seth’s voice.

“Seth, what’s wrong?”

“Mom is missing and something’s wrong with Seymour,” Seth blurts out in a panicked voice.

“Oh my God, Seth. I’ll get your Dad, immediately. Hold on.”

“Thanks.”

The receptionist finds David in one of the examination rooms and tells him there has been an emergency. David speaks to Seth and tells him that he is on his way home. David gets one of the veterinary technicians to come into the room to stay with the dog that he had been examining and its owner. He explains to the dog’s owner that an emergency has come up at home. David apologizes and tells his patient’s owner that his associate will be in to see them in a few minutes as he must return home. David puts on his overcoat and takes a medical kit with him. He pulls his SUV out of the veterinary clinic’s parking lot and starts on his way back home. When he arrives at the house, he opens the door and is greeted by Seth.

“Thanks for coming so quickly, Dad. Mom’s missing and I found Seymour collapsed on the floor. I’m scared something has happened to Mom.”

Helene Zemel spent her childhood and young adulthood studying for a career as a concert pianist. She received a B.A. in Music from Hofstra University and an M.A. in musicology from Queens College which is part of the City University of New York. She performed in numerous piano recitals and spent many years teaching piano. Ms. Zemel also held various positions in business including accounting, marketing, and insurance sales. She received an M.B.A. from New York Institute of Technology.

Ms. Zemel grew up on Long Island and also raised her family there. The opening beach scene was inspired by her childhood on the island. In March of 2015, after the death of her husband, she retired to Oklahoma City where she is enjoying the friendliness of the people. This is her debut novel.

The Sage Seed Chronicles

THE SAGE SEED CHRONICLES

Review tour for book 1 – 3

 

by

Holly Barbo

 

GENRE: YA Fantasy

 

There are no monsters on Ose. People can be monstrous enough.

Disaster strikes the beautiful world of Ose. Marisily is one of the Sages who can help heal the planet when nuclear winter pushes the civilization back to the brink of destruction. Only she doesn’t know her own powers yet.

It is survival of the fittest as vicious outlaws destroy all that remains, kidnapping, enslaving and killing those weaker than themselves.

With a bounty on her head, alone and betrayed by her own father, can a young woman find the strength and wisdom necessary to rally the good people of Ose and rebuild their culture?

Sari worsened as the day wore on. She was too weak to fight off the effects of the abuse and the fever at the same time. Marisily was at her mother’s side when she died. She closed her mother’s eyes and wrapped her in a clean sheet. Then she sat at her mother’s side and rocked back and forth as the tears rolled down her cheeks. Eventually, her sobbing breaths quieted and she wiped her cheeks.

Dazed, Marisily resumed her duties. She had made a stew in the afternoon with the thought that the broth would be nourishing for her mother. Now she served it to her father for dinner. Jed came in from his workroom and started eating when Marisily quietly said, “Mother’s dead. I have prepared her for burial.”

Jed gave his daughter a long look before he answered. Marisily sensed he was considering saying something that she wouldn’t like and she steeled herself for it, but when he spoke all he said was, “I am sorry to hear that. She was a good wife. The only thing she didn’t do was give me a son. I’ll move her body to the workshop before I go out tonight.” He scooped another piece of meat from the stew and chewed thoughtfully. “Daughter, I don’t think I can continue to support you. I will give you a choice. Rory, the herder, needs a wife. He’s a friend of mine. I don’t believe he has ever cleaned his place and though he is eight years older than me, he is lusty enough to keep you busy. I think he could take you to wife tomorrow. Or you could leave. It makes no difference to me. As your father, I don’t need to give you a choice, but since I’m grieving the loss of your mother, I will be generous. If you are still here tomorrow morning, I’ll know your decision is to wed.” He finished his meal and pushed back from the table. “I am going into Morraton to meet with friends. I’ll bring my new wife home after I bury Sari tomorrow.” Jed put on his heavy coat and smiled to himself as the door closed behind him. He didn’t believe his daughter had enough warm clothing to survive. She would either set out tonight and freeze to death or would stay and leave with Rory tomorrow. It didn’t make any difference to him. She would be gone either way.

Marisily cleared the table, giving her father time to go down the trail to town, keeping an eye on the window until he disappeared from sight. There was no way she was going to remain. Angry at her father’s offhand comments, total insensitivity and arrogance, she was also fully aware of her danger. Marisily had been very lucky that her father had given her a choice. She had been thinking about where she would go. There was a place that she had seen several years before. At the time, Jed had been gone on a journey to obtain yarns spun in Osily. Sari and Marisily had ranged miles from the cabin picking berries. They had separated, to cover more area. Marisily thought hard about where that place was. They had meandered through the foothills during that gathering trip.

She brought out her coat, and put on all of her warmest clothes as well as a few things of her mother’s. Her father would never allow her to leave with anything he deemed his property and that included everything in the home. Marisily knelt by her bed and, rolling back the rug, she removed the floorboard. She pulled out a heavy, knitted hat, scarf and gloves that she had made for her mother’s upcoming birthday and donned them. Her mother would be happy that she was using the gift to survive. Quickly, Marisily emptied her secret cubbyhole of her journal and other small treasures. Gathering what she could carry that she felt her father wouldn’t miss, Marisily stepped outside and disappeared from her childhood home. She had no intention of ever coming back.

There are no monsters on Ose. People can be monstrous enough.

 

A virulent disease sweeps through the budding civilization on the planet Ose. As people are dropping like flies, the healers’ guild is not making headway in finding a cure.

Just as every hope seems lost, young Ree comes into her sage powers. Despite having to fight the disapproval from those who think her too young and inexperienced, she comes up with a cure from unusual natural sources.

The race is on to get ahead of the epidemic. Time is tight, and a swindler’s “miracle cure” makes matters worse.

With Ree and the healers’ lives in danger, is the whole planet doomed?

Ree smiled and turned away to scan the verge of the grassland where it met the woods. There seemed to be a very subtle movement in the tall stalks as the inconsistent breeze moved the tassels of ripe grass seeds. Ree gazed with casual curiosity at the wind-kissed grass. Her nonchalance gave way to amazement as she realized she and Catri were not alone. Slowly, she sat up straighter and reached out to Catri.

At Ree’s touch, Catri opened her eyes and looked at the young woman’s alert posture. “What is it?” she whispered.

Ree barely breathed the answer, “I’ve never seen any animal like this. It’s beautiful, but what it is, I don’t know.”

The answer did not come from Catri, but instead was spoken inside of Ree’s head. “I’m a lyrix. We are ancient inhabitants of this world. My name is Raow. We prefer to stay hidden. There are few of us left now, but at one time, long before the race you call the Ancients arrived, we were the psychic species that held this world together.” Raow had both Catri and Ree’s undivided attention.

Catri, who had also heard the creature’s voice in her head, spoke first. “Your kind is legend. Stories from the Ancients refer to you, but I have never heard of anyone seeing you. Thank you for this gift.”

Raow continued to focus on the younger woman, though he didn’t seem to mind Catri’s involvement in the conversation. Ree studied the fascinating animal. Raow was about twenty inches high at the shoulder. He was covered in fur from his four paws to the tips of his pointed ears. His tail was no more than five inches long and he had a ruff of fur from under his jaw to behind his ears. Raow had intelligent, gold eyes. The rest of his coloring seemed to shift and change with what was around him as if he was a figment of their imagination. But Raow was quite real.

Ree spoke, all the time keeping his gaze. “I’m honored that you decided to make yourself known to us. Can you tell us why?”

Raow returned her scrutiny. “We lyrix choose who sees us and who will be accepted as part of our family. Ree, we share a special type of kinship. You are a sage with barely awakened powers. This is so new, you haven’t become aware of it. I’m here to provide guidance in these skills and to be in your life when you need me.

Something is shaking Erin’s world. Freak storms and disastrous earthquakes ravage the land, and perfectly healthy people are suddenly dying. Are these harmless coincidences or deliberate, connected events?

Erin’s parents die of a mysterious fever, but she isn’t fooled. It is clearly murder. Why would someone want to kill a weaver and his wife? Besides, Erin can feel that same malevolent energy hunting her down. Is that a new skill she didn’t know she had?

With no time to grieve, Erin leaves home and joins a merchant caravan for protection and to give herself time to solve the puzzle.

Who killed her parents? Why are they trying to kill her, too? And why is the planet unraveling?

There was a breeze in the moonlit forest; the shadows shifted and blended as the branches moved. A young woman raced between the trees, oblivious to the branches that tore at her hair and clothing. In her haste, her feet slipped on the leaves and decaying foliage, adding to her terrified flight. The slender girl whirled behind a tree and crouched low. Her large, blue eyes darted back over her trail, searching the flickering shadows for her pursuer. Her breathing was ragged. Where was he?

She tried to catch her breath so she could listen, but her heart was racing like a stampeding elk; her breathing was so choppy that her whimpers escaped her throat in short, ragged bursts. She looked around the tree at the terrain she had just covered. Was that a movement back there? With a gasp, she darted back behind the tree and staggered into motion. She knew he was following. Goose bumps raced up her arms as she tore over the small rise, her heart pumping like a smithy’s bellows.

Something brushed her cheek. At first the soft touch didn’t register through the overwhelming terror of her flight but it came again, this time with a voice. ‘Erin. It’s all right. You’re safe for now. Erin, hear me.’

The light contact came again and abruptly broke through her mind. Startled out of the nightmare that had gripped her, she opened her eyes and, with a shuddering breath, looked up into the gentle eyes of the merlin falcon that was standing beside her head.

“Thank you, Keir.” Her breath hitched as she spoke. She rose up on one elbow and reached up to touch the bird, but her hand quivered with the remaining adrenaline that still coursed through her blood. “That was . . . terrifying.”

The bird bobbed his head. ‘The nightmare is understandable. The murder of your parents is bad enough, but there’s also the fact that you have new abilities. Erin, you’re sensing the dangerous person who is seeking you. I am sure of it, and that had to play into your dream. But that person isn’t near. My kind have been watching. Rest. Dawn will arrive soon. There are some miles to go yet to get to Ree. She will have some answers for you. Rest. You are safe for now.’

Erin’s nod was a little shaky. She could feel the sweat from the nightmare drying on her skin. “You’re right. It was so real, it’ll take me a few minutes to be clear of it so I can sleep. I’m sorry I woke you, Keir.” She shook her head and her long hair slipped behind her shoulders. A few strands still clung to the sticky sweat on her face. Erin raised a hand that was steadier than it had been moments before and brushed the hair away from her forehead. “I know Ree will at least be able to advise me, because she’s a wise woman, and right now I need all of the advice I can get.” She looked off through the trees. “I think we are no more than several hours away.” Erin sighed then sank back down and pulled her blanket around her. “Thank you, my friend. You get more rest too,” she said with a smile.

Keir made a small sound in the back of his throat before flying to a low branch above her. ‘I may be gone when you wake but I will not be far. Just keep going to Ree’s home.’

BOOKS 4 & 5 OF THE SAGE SEED CHRONICLES

A major event of cataclysmic proportions threatens Ose. The damage done by false gossip and accusations has infected people’s minds, and a misguided but deadly witch hunt hinders the remaining sages’ ability to concentrate on correcting the planet’s imbalance.

Their one chance to save the civilization comes with the next eclipse, but there are too few of them left, and very little time. The people, the weather, and even the planet itself seem to fight them at every step.

Can Drune and the other sages reweave the fabric of their world before the eclipse tears it apart?

 

Long-lost artifacts lure people from a lost population out on a secret quest. At the same time, an unexpectedly strong winter storm forces Erin to take refuge in an isolated cabin. Unbeknownst to her, this was the last known location of the missing items that Kai, one of the lost, is looking for.

Dismayed to find Erin at the cabin, he reacts in the only logical way: Kill any witnesses to protect his people.

With a ferocious blizzard ravaging the realm, will the sages be able to prevent bloodshed? And what would it take to avoid war with THE LOST ones?

 

Holly’s world is shaped by her love of family, the beauty of the natural world and an irrepressible creative drive. She has always been curious and sees life through questions. These four characteristics color her writing voice and her stories frequently evolve from her asking “What if….?” Her tales tend to have non-urban settings with nature contributing to the plot, building discordant themes inside a seemingly peaceful refrain.

My motto: Weaving Alternative Worlds with Threads From Today.

CHILDREN FROM DARK HOUSES

Mystery/Thriller
Date Published: June 1, 2016

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Cynical private investigator Atticus Wynn and his idealistic partner Rosemary Sanchez will stop at nothing to save a damaged boy, even when it means taking on a pair of professional killers and a gang of outlaw bikers in this action-packed and gallows-humored mystery thriller prequel to The Black Song Inside.
When Atticus and Rosemary are hired for the seemingly routine job of finding Imran Khan, a runaway from San Diego’s posh Barrington Academy for troubled teens, the detectives quickly discover this case will be anything but routine.
Imran wasn’t running away from the rigid rules of Barrington, he was running into the arms of an enigmatic beauty who goes to great lengths to stay in the shadows. As soon as Atticus and Rosemary learn of this mystery woman, they’re targeted by a brutal outlaw biker gang.
When the detectives finally meet their employers in person, Imran’s parents, the pieces fall into place.  They discover a family seething with rage, an abused boy seeking love, and a secret so powerful, it blows the lid off the case.  A dark world of dirty money, deadly spies, and double-crosses is brought to light, forcing Atticus and Rosemary to question whether Imran is an innocent victim or a violent avenger.
The detectives will need all of Atticus’s street smarts and Rosemary’s combat experience to survive as they race down a road of blood and broken people toward a showdown where the very boy they’ve sworn to save is the person most likely to get them killed.
 
EXCERPT
Rosemary Sanchez’s phone rang, or to be more accurate, warbled into song. Specifically, Muddy Waters famous blues tune “Mannish Boy,” which she had not programmed into it. It started at the part that refers to the singer’s destiny to become “the greatest man alive.” She snorted. That Atticus.
Clad in jeans and a gray T-shirt that read ARMY across the front, she’d been in the midst of her daily bed-making duel with her nemesis, her tortoiseshell cat Mawroo, who with feline telepathy, always anticipated the moment she began to make her bed. As the sheet came billowing down, Mawroo leapt onto the mattress. The cat-hump raced around beneath the sheet like a gopher in a cartoon, all the while uttering her namesake cry, “Maaaaawrooooo!” Rosemary could only answer such an affront to bed-making etiquette by scrabbling her fingers about so that the hump raced hither and thither after them, sometimes rolling over to create four paw tent poles, claws poking through the sheet.
Rosemary answered the phone while, in protest at the interruption, Mawroo “mawrooed”!
“Let me guess,” Rosemary said. “You made one too many smartass remarks, and now we’re barred from Barrington.”
“Scoff, scoff,” Atticus said.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” she asked.
“I wanted to scoff at your lack of faith, but I’ve only read about people scoffing and never actually seen it. Thus, I don’t know how one would actually go about scoffing in real life. So I improvised.”
“I don’t know whether it’s more disturbing to think you’ve been pondering that for a while or that you just thought it up.”
“Either someone’s playing a violin with a meat tenderizer,” he said, “or you are foolishly trying to make your bed with Mawroo in the room.”
“I don’t have a choice,” Rosemary said. “She sulks all day if I shut her out.”
“How can one tell if a cat is sulking or just being a cat?”
“When one loves another being and is in a close relationship, one pays attention and thus becomes quite attuned to the being’s sensibilities.”
“Are we still talking about a cat here?” Atticus asked.
“Meow,” Rosemary answered.
“Um, er, normally, I’d be game for the metaphorical banter, but I happen to have a gentleman tailing me. I’m hoping you can come out here and tail my tailer.”
Rosemary’s tone switched from banter to business. “Already someone following you? Feel dangerous?”
“Can’t tell,” he said, “but it’s hard to see what I could have done so quickly to make someone want to hurt me.”
“You’ve never been on the other side of your smart mouth.”
“Anyway,” he said, “once you’ve got him, I’ll lose him.”
“And I’ll follow him back to his criminal lair.”
“Criminal lair?” he asked.
“Yes,” she said. “Any criminal associated with Barrington Academy wouldn’t have anything as uncouth as a hideout. He would merit a lair.”
“Brains as well as beauty,” he said. “Brains enough that once this ne’er do well is ensconced in his lair, you wouldn’t dream of doing something as stupid as trying to get a real good looksee before you’ve called your charming partner in for back up, right?”
“You do recall I’ve done a tour of duty in a war zone?”
“And I know you’re going back soon,” Atticus said, his voice tight, “which I don’t like to even think about. My point is that neither of us should take any unnecessary risks.”
“But that’s my specialty.”
“Computers are your specialty. That’s why we joined forces. Risk-taking is your addiction.”
“Fine, if you’re going to be such a big butt about it, I’ll play it all careful and boring.”
Atticus sighed. “All I ask is that you be as concerned about your safety as I am.”
Rosemary ended the call as Mawroo scooted from beneath the sheet, paused, and then suddenly realized it was absolutely imperative she get out of the room as quickly as possible. She galloped through the door and made it all of three feet into the hall before lying down, licking her paws, and rubbing her little baseball head with her wet feet.
Grinning at the kitty’s antics, Rosemary threw her hair into a braid, wriggled into her jeans, and headed out the door to her silver Ford Fiesta ST. Fifteen minutes later, Rosemary texted Atticus that she was in position behind the tail.
About the Author

 

Carlyle Clark was raised in Poway, a city just north of San Diego, but is now a proud Chicagolander working in the field of Corporate Security and writing crime and fantasy fiction. He has flailed ineffectually at performing the writer’s requisite myriad of random jobs: pizza deliverer, curb address painter, sweatshop laborer, day laborer, night laborer, security guard, campus police, Gallup pollster, medical courier, vehicle procurer, and signature-for-petitions-getter.
He is a married man with two cats and a dog. He is also a martial arts enthusiast and a CrossFit endurer who enjoys fishing, sports, movies, TV series with continuing storylines, and of course, reading. Most inconsequentially, he holds the unrecognized distinction of being one of the few people in the world who have been paid to watch concrete dry in the dark. Tragically, that is a true statement.
Contact Links
Twitter:@Carlyle_Clark
Purchase Links
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Carmen Stefanescu ~New Release~

 

Barbara Heyer can hear voices of dead people. They whisper of their deaths, seek comfort for those left behind, and occasionally even warn her about future events. But when Barbara’s brother, Colin, is accused of murder, it will take more than her gift to prove his innocence.

Becoming smitten with the handsome investigator, Detective Patrick Fischer, is a serious complication given his assignment to her brother’s case. Barbara senses there is something far deeper—and perhaps much older—than the surface attraction between them. Could that be why she’s visited by a mysterious woman named Emma in her dreams? Could past life regression tie all the seemingly unconnected events together?

Barbara and Patrick must overcome heartache to find the truth to save Colin, and perhaps themselves.

Dustin series by June Kramin ~ time travel romance genre

Dustin series

 

by

June Kramin

Genre: Time Travel Romance

 

DUSTIN TIME

 

 

Kaitlyn thought she was happy with her life. Her veterinary practice successful, and a “boy toy” to keep her satisfied. At least until the night she turns thirty, when the inevitable biological clock starts to tick. Convincing herself that he is simply not father material, she decides to let him go. Dusty refuses to leave without a fight, and fate strongly agrees.

After an unsuccessful breakup, she wakes up once again in Dusty’s arms, only he’s not the same man. He’s an older version…and their child is crying from the next room. The days that follow bring more of the same: arriving at a time in her past or alternate future, on her birthday. Dusty is the only constant in all of her travels, anxious to win her over in each timeframe.

Seeing a whole new side to him and knowing that they were truly meant to be, she allows herself to finally love him. Knowing she has to have fixed what was wrong, she expects it all to stop; only it doesn’t. Battling her frustrations daily, Kaitlyn desperately searches for the answers that will bring her time traveling to an end.

 

Katie walked into the coffee shop and smiled wide again. It was all so familiar. At least this time she’d know what to expect. She noticed her shoe had become untied so she bent down to tie it. When she stood up, she looked into a familiar face–only it was a few years younger as well.

“Fancy meeting you here,” the man said, then smiled wide, obviously happy to see her.

Kaitlyn fainted.

~*~

She woke up on the couch of the coffee shop with Dustin at her side and a washcloth on her forehead. She tried to sit up but he gently pushed her back down.

“Just lay back there, cupcake. Take a few minutes to gather yourself.” He turned to the manager who was also standing there as if he worried that there would be a lawsuit coming. “You can go. She’s fine.”

Kaitlyn stared at Dustin’s profile as he talked. He was just as gorgeous four years younger. He looked closer to eighteen than he did twenty-one. His beautiful brown eyes glistened with the same gold flecks. He was still muscular, just slightly smaller and a little skinnier. His brown hair was a little longer too. She did always say she preferred short hair on men, but she wanted to run her fingers through it just the same. She watched his Adam’s apple as he talked and longed to give it a kiss.

Never mind, she thought. If this is a dream, let me sleep.

 

 

DUSTIN’S TURN

 

 

Upset over a horrible twist that fate has thrown Katie’s best friend, Dusty is determined to find a way to right this horrible wrong. After years of being afraid to even mention his name, Dusty goes in search of Frank, the one person who helped Katie through her time traveling torment. When he discovers Katie can’t go back in time again, but he can, he takes the chance to do for Courtney what Katie had done for his sister: Save her life.

He quickly finds out that things are not going to be as easy as he thought. Getting Katie to fall for him all over again is a challenge he wasn’t prepared to take on. Having the knowledge of Katie’s time traveling helps somewhat, but Frank’s assistance doesn’t prove as helpful as it was for her. Being sent to altered timelines, as Katie had been, are equally frustrating for him. But finding out Frank’s identity was the most surprising “trip” of all.

 

Again Dusty pondered what exactly the significance of Frank’s appearance was for Katie. He never seemed to be much other than someone for her to talk to. Dusty wished he was here for him to talk to now. “Who and what were you, you old codger?” he said aloud.

“You rang?”

Dusty was speechless at the man that stood before him. “I…uh…what?” he said in a raised tone of great shock.

“You rang. Quit your shouting, too. I’m old, not deaf.”

“You’re…” Dusty was at a loss for words.

“Here. Now what can I help you with?”

“How did you… why… holy sh—”

What’s the matter boy?”

“Am I dreaming?”

“Why? Do I look like I’m the man of your dreams?”

“No…uh… holy crap.”

“Look. You’re the one that showed up looking for me.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t think you’d actually show up.”

“Are you ever a nut job.”

“I think you’re right.” Dusty sat back and took a deep breath. “Uh… can I get you coffee or something?”

“I’m fine. Thanks.”

“This is just too weird. We’ve hardly talked about you since Katie stayed put.”

“Afraid I’d show up again?”

“Something like that I guess.”

“You want me to go?”

“No!” Dusty shot to his feet. “I need to talk to you.”

“Katie’s doing great, isn’t she?”

“Perfect.”

“And the kids?”

“You know about…” Of course he knows, dumbass. “Um… they’re fine.”

“Your sister Alyson?”

“She’s fantastic.”

“Then what are you jerkin’ my chain for, boy? What’s your pickle?”

DUSTIN’S NOVEL

 

 

Katie and Dustin have had to time travel before to right some wrongs, but that’s not the answer or even an option this time around.

Struggling daily to deal with devastating news delivered by a time-traveling Frank, Katie immerses herself in Dusty’s latest manuscript. While trying to correct her own fate, she finds herself completely captivated with Captain Skinnard’s world.

She learns that their lives are intertwined with Dusty’s writing far more than she could ever imagine. From innocent phrases used by her daughter to the names of children and pets, Katie is in constant amazement of the twisted pretzel of time.

Enjoy the final installment in this time-traveling trilogy where you’ll join Dustin and Katie in a new phase in their lives and a touch of sci-fi in Dustin’s Novel.

 

Instead of being frightened as seeing Frank/Dusty, Katie crossed her arms over her chest. “He gave in too easily.”

“Who gave in too easily?” the older Dusty asked.

“Vick, jackass. Oh, here’s your kid. Okay, I’ll just give up traipsing the galaxy now. No problem. Feel free to die now. Ahhhhh!!” Her hands dropped at her side.

“I’m glad to see you, too.”

“Seriously, Dusty. Make him work for it a little.”

“You’re yelling at the wrong ‘me,’ doll face.”

“Oh, you’ll get it when you get home.”

“How about I get it now,” he said, waggling his eyebrows.

Katie scrunched her eyebrows. “Gawd. Even at your age you’re still this way? I’m not sleeping with the seventy year old you, Dusty.”

“Why not? The almost eighty year old you doesn’t mind.”

That sent her laughing until she snorted. “God, I love you.”

“Annnnd I see you still call me God.”

“Stop it,” She finally walked over and gave him a strong hug. “Should I be worried that you’re here? Please don’t make me or you travel through time again. We’re so happy.”

He clasped both of her hands tight. “No way. I just thought now was a good time to come see you.”

“I know there’s more to this. You showing up is never a good thing.”

“Is too. Last time I showed up, I called me, if you recall. I saved Courtney’s life.”

“I know…but…I’ve just gotten used to the stories. I think I actually know which life is mine. Which ‘you’ I won over and when.”

“You mean which ‘me’ won you over.”

“Whatever. I love you but please go.”

“Can’t you even spare a cup of coffee?”

She crossed her arms and squinted for a moment before she answered. “Fine. But you go before you come home.”

“Deal.”

They sat together on the porch swing out back. Dusty finally spoke up after a far too uncomfortable silence.

“I lied. I did come for a reason.”

 

Wife, Mother, Writer, Lunatic. Not necessarily in that order.

“There is a fine line between genius and crazy… I like to use that line as a jump rope!”

 

June, who prefers to go by Bug, was born in Philadelphia but moved to Maui, Hawaii when she was four. She met her “Prince Charming” on Kauai and is currently living “Happily Ever After” in a small town in Minnesota.

Her son and daughter are her greatest accomplishments. She takes pride in embarrassing them every chance she gets. Being hopelessly addicted to 80’s music is her super power.