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Lynn Hones


Why don’t you light a few candles, close all the blinds and pray for a good storm with lots of rumbling thunder. Next, make a cup of hot tea with lemon and drink it out of a chipped, antique cup while snuggled into a worn-out, vintage quilt. Now pick up a romance novel, throw in a little imagination and a ghost or two and you’re ready for an evening with Lynn Hones. Are you cozy yet? If not, maybe you need to add one huge, Old English Sheepdog, two curious cats, two mischievous little girls and a handsome husband. Mix them all together in a creaky and very drafty, old home in Cleveland Ohio and you have the recipe of my life. Not perfect by any means, but filled with good, old fashioned, down home eats and ghostly treats. Come on, let’s go have some fun together. Shh. Did you hear that? What was it…

A Titanic Tale

Written By: Lynn Hones
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

The Titanic sank one hundred years ago, but the curse it carried lives on. Beautiful Cornelia Bainesworth care...

A purser raised his finger and indicated she was next in line. She bid goodbye to the Astors and looked around for Maggie as she walked out onto the deck. Her savior, Mr. Davenport, never showed up again. Taking care of little wifey, no doubt. A lot of good he is. I didnt even get a damn drink out of him.

She waited patiently as the purser helped people into the lifeboat. A woman yelled in a language she didnt recognize and disturbed the beautiful chamber music that worked to soothe her nerves. How did a third class passenger get up here? She glanced at the shriveled, old lady holding two small bundles.

Whats she saying? the purser asked one of the sailors standing nearby.

Bloody hell if I know, he replied. They all speak in tongues if you be askin me.

Mrs. Bainesworth pulled the collar of her coat up around her neck. Could one of you please tell her to shut up? Its hard enough to be out on this deck, in the middle of the night, without riff raff babbling on and on.

I think she wants on the boat with the babes, the purser said.

Not on your life, the sailor answered. Weve got our orders and Im not losing this job.

Ive got news, old man. Youre going to be losing more than a job tonight.

Both of you stop, she said. The woman is insane. Get rid of her.

Shes too old to be their mother. She must be their nanny, the purser said.

Mrs. Bainesworth glanced over. Are you daft? Look at the rags those babies are wearing. Theyre obviously the offspring of third class passengers. I think they should be taken back below and drowned.

The two men looked at each other until one spoke.

You know what? Youre right. This woman doesnt belong on a lifeboat.

Thank, God, youve come to your senses. Now send them below.

Her maid, Maggie, came running up. I looked all over for you, maam. Im glad to see you made it up to a boat.

Come, Maggie. Ill need you with me. She took Maggies hand and headed toward the sailor helping people in. Before she had a chance to put her leg over, the sailor took one of the babies from the old woman and handed it to her. He took the other and handed it to Maggie.

What…what in the hell are you doing? Mrs. Bainesworth cried.

He stepped back.

The old woman grabbed Mrs. Bainesworths wrist and squeezed, her dirty fingernails drawing blood. In her foreign language, the woman seemed to be cursing her. After a few more words, the woman stepped closer to Mrs. Bainesworth. She leaned forward, pushing her leathery, wrinkled face even nearer. The stink of fried onions was on her breath. Her eyes were black circles floating in a sea of red lines against a sick, yellow background. The woman smiled. Slowly, she bared her rotting teeth, loosened her grip on Mrs. Bainesworths wrist and spat next to the shocked womans shoes. The purser yanked the woman by the arm, pulling her into the crowd and back to certain death.

Being helped into the lifeboat, Mrs. Bainesworth yelled at the man assisting her when he grabbed her fur coat. Careful, you oaf. This coat cost more than youll make in a lifetime. She and Maggie found a spot and sat.

Dont worry, the purser said, the mother will claim the babies later. Once we come back to the ship, well reunite them with her.

I dont know the first thing about babies, Mrs. Bainesworth said.

Think of them as little heaters, maam, theyll help keep you both warm.

She glanced at Maggie, then at the babies. Ill do what I can, but the owner of this ship will be hearing from me. This is absolutely ridiculous. With the ruckus around growing ever louder, she was sure no one heard her. She spoke only to herself and to the baby she now held tightly against her chest. Ill have to get to sleep once were back on the ship, Maggie. You know what Im like in the morning without a proper nights rest.

Another first class woman sat next to them. “Oh, my poor dears. Look at you. Two babes in arms.” She yelled to the other people. “Please, extra blankets for these women and their tiny waifs.” A large blanket was passed and wrapped around them and the babies. Enjoying the sympathy, and the extra care, Mrs. Bainesworth played the martyr and imagined the extra attention might not be a bad thing after all.

The Titanic sank one hundred years ago, but the curse it carried lives on.

Beautiful Cornelia Bainesworth cared only about herself and her own life the night the Titanic went down. A curse brought on by a woman who witnessed her selfish behavior that evening destroys her, but it doesn’t stop there.

One hundred years later, the curse rears its ugly head in the life of small-town teenager Callie. As if the tragedy of her boyfriend’s death wasn’t enough, strange occurrences bring her to the brink of insanity. Callie’s search for answers is unsuccessful until a nerdy schoolmate takes up her cause and together they experience frightening apparitions, unexplained phenomena and chilling truths. These truths turn Callie’s life upside down and reveal a shocking ending to a story that began on the deck of a ship doomed the moment it saw light.

Price: $4.99
Gore Orphanage Road

Written By: Lynn Hones
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Alexis Duncan and her family move into a home once owned by an evil tyrant, and are blissfully unaware of the horr...

I turned the corner into the bath and stopped in my tracks. The semi-transparent shower curtain encircled the deep tub and the water ran long and hot. The door wide open, I saw what appeared to be the shape of an old person soaping themself up. When I say old, I mean like an ancient, troll-like physique standing in our shower. No more than five feet tall, it possessed skinny arms and legs, was bald and had long fingers and a pronounced, beaklike nose.

It hummed. I froze.

The fear infused me with sudden paralysis of mind, body and spirit. This, this…person, this monster in our shower knew I stood there and knew I couldn't move.

It stopped soaping its misshapen limbs and turned its oversized grotesque head over its bony shoulder and, although I couldn't see its eyes, it stared at me. Without a move of a muscle, the shower stopped and I heard a low growl. Bile rose in my throat, hot and stinging, tasting of Fritos, and I willed myself to swallow it back down.

Whatever you do, don't pass out again. Another growl, this one more sinister than the first, came from the--the entity showering in front of me.

In a voice filled with what sounded like gravel, dirty, gross gravel, a low ominous sound came from behind the curtain. "Do you want to die, Alexis?"

A laugh began. At first a baritone reverberation, but as it continued, it picked up a higher cadence and fell into a full-out childish giggle. High-pitched and squeaky, it repeated itself… "Do you want to die, Alexis? Do you want to die, Alexis?" It didn't stop. In that cartoon character, shrill and penetrating tone, it repeated itself over and over and…

"Alexis?" Mom said from downstairs. I heard the twins run in and go straight for the kitchen as the back door slammed.

"Oh," it said. "They're home." It reached its scrawny hand to the shower curtain and slowly pulled it back. Its face stuck out at me and for a brief second the revulsion I felt at the sight made me shudder and lose consciousness briefly. I shook my head and opened my eyes, staring it full in the face.

Brown, molted fingertips held the corner of the curtain aside and it smiled at me showing yellow teeth. Rancid, fetid skin covered a skeletal facial structure, rotting in places. Its ears gone, a green slime came out of a hole in the side of its neck.

"Gotta go bye bye now." It disappeared. Gone…poof. I hadn't realized how frozen the air surrounding me was until it warmed again. I felt my arms thaw and I moved my hands up to my face. My legs moved next and with my back against the wall, I slowly slid into a sitting position. What in the hell just happened to me?

"Alexis, where are you? Do you want a grilled cheese?" Sara yelled.

My body shuddered uncontrollably, a woman coming back from the brink of death. I lowered my head in between my knees and cried.

Alexis Duncan and her family move into a home once owned by an evil tyrant, and are blissfully unaware of the horrors that await them. Strange apparitions, orbs floating in the woods outside their windows, and frightening specters in their bedrooms are only the beginning. Alexis alienates her hardcore boyfriend, Joe, and his cronies, after meeting a young man named Reed who understands the manifestation of ghostly occurrences. He sets out to save her from them and also from an insanely jealous Joe. He'll kill to save her, even if it means losing Alexis in process.
Price: $4.99
Haunted Vows

Written By: Lynn Hones
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Jaylyn reluctantly relocates with her fiancé to a falling down antebellum mansion on the outskirts of a sma...

Not owning much in the way of play or work clothes, Jaylyn wore one of Eli’s old t-shirts, cut off just under her breasts. The stretched neck slid over her now tan shoulder and her hair, pulled back in a ponytail at the neck, came loose, strands of her blonde hair sticking to her neck and cheeks. Her cut off jean shorts showed off the bottoms of her firm cheeks and she wore no panties or bra in the heat. He sported only a pair of frayed, cutoff jeans himself and she couldn’t concentrate on the task at hand, he looked so good.

“Damn!” Pulling her hand away from the newly boiled jars, she sucked on her finger. “These puppies are hot.” His non-response confused her, so she turned to see why he didn’t answer. When she did, the look of the hungry tiger radiated from his eyes once again. His bare chest and arms glinting with sweat, rugged, masculine her gaze traveled to his hair, strewn about wildly in the heat. His legs, his bare feet, every inch of him oozed sensuousness, manly perfection.

A cool breeze, out of nowhere, came by and her breasts, flat in the heat, rose, showing through the fabric of the thin t-shirt she wore. Mental telepathy played a part in her removing her shirt and after she did, her bare breasts, small, but firm showed off her perfect pink nipples. He licked his lips and she unbuttoned her shorts, pulling the zipper down slowly. They fell to the floor and she removed one leg and then the other. Another breeze, this one stronger, came through the window and whipped her hair around her shoulders and the once light kitchen darkened and she glanced outside.

“I think a storm’s heading in,” she said softly.

“In more ways than one!” He crossed the kitchen as a flash of lightning struck off in the distance and the boom of thunder it produced banked off the walls. He lifted her into his arms and kicking open the back door with his foot, he brought her into the yard and walked far back into a clearing, laying her down roughly.

Jaylyn reluctantly relocates with her fiancé to a falling down antebellum mansion on the outskirts of a small Virginia town. Unfortunately he leaves her for his new boss’s daughter and informs her to do whatever she wants with the house and land. She meets Eli Jacobs, a down on his luck farmer, who grew up in the area and loves the old home and surrounding farm. Instead of selling the property, she agrees to hire Eli and together they work to get the place back to its former glory. When Hubert finds out a corporation is willing to pay whatever it takes to secure the land the house is on, he reneges and does everything in his power to thwart their efforts and make their lives miserable. Unfortunately, the house has other inhabitants who at first seem to dislike Jaylyn and Eli, but in the end, prove to be the answer to all their prayers.
Price: $4.99
Laugh in the Dark

Written By: Lynn Hones
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

How many times have the carts run through the funhouse at Conniesyaught Park? After one hundred years, Nick and Ma...

"The birds hate Arthur," Beatrice said. "Peter and I laugh when the birds try to bite him."

"I'll bite him, if he doesn't stop throwing rocks at 'em," Gina said.

"They're ugly," Arthur replied. "All they do is pick at the dead fish and crap all over."

"So what?" Gina's patience wore thin and she groaned. "Do you expect them to defrag your computer? They're fricken birds!" She rolled over and pushed a folded towel under her head. "This is going to be one hell of a long summer. No boyfriend, no girlfriends, nothing but kids to watch."

"You're not watching me!" Arthur threw another rock, then ran up the stairs and disappeared over the ridge.

Beatrice grabbed a shovel and pail to take to the edge of the water. There she sat piling mounds of wet, brown sand into her bucket to make a sandcastle. Gina enjoyed the peace and quiet, while she and Peter lay on the blanket and read. Later, she and Beatrice looked for shells and beach glass while their brother swam.

After a couple of hours, Beatrice sat on the shore and the waves came up and covered her legs. Her singing caught Gina's attention. The words were barely audible at first, but something didn't sound right. She raised her head to listen, and the lyrics became clearer.

"Came from California to start anew.

My mom fooled around, yes it's true.

My daddy took a hammer, yes he did.

He used it on my mommy, while I hid."

It made her skin crawl. Dumbfounded, Gina sat and leaned on her elbow. "Beatrice, where did you learn that song?"

"My new friends."

"Don't sing that anymore. Why did they..."

"Gina!" Bea screamed. "There they are. There are my friends." She pointed up to the top and Gina quickly turned that way. On the edge of the hill stood two children, dressed as Peter had described.

Peter slowly moved toward Gina's blanket, spread out over the sand, and knelt next to her. Beatrice, on the other hand, moved closer to the incline and called up.

"Hello."

Speechless, Gina stared. Peter moved even closer and she put a protective arm around his shoulders.

The children didn't move. The wind blew their hair and clothing against their bodies, but they simply stared down, their faces as white as sheets.

Beatrice continued her greeting. "Do you want to go swimming with us? My sister will watch you. Go ask your mom."

Gina found her voice. "Bea, don't," she said quietly. "Come here."

Beatrice turned and looked at her sister and brother's faces. She stopped calling and moved closer to them. "What's the matter?" she asked in a whisper.

"Nothing, it's just that those kids are strange. I don't think you should play with them. If they ever come around and ask you, just say no."

The children continued staring down at them. Somewhat unnerved, Gina shivered.

A rush of wind whipped by and she turned her head. Black clouds filled the sky to the north.

"Gather everything up, guys. A storm's heading in." She stood and collected the books, snacks and sun block from her blanket and threw them into her bag, glancing occasionally at the strange kids.

"Let's head in."

They slowly made their way up the steps. Her sights on the children, Gina didn't want to blink lest they run and disappear. Once at the top, their odd behavior matched their attire.

"Where do you live?" Gina asked.

The tiny waifs simply stared at her.

Her impatience grew. "Go home. It's not safe to be here alone."

They continued to stand and gape at her.

"Did you hear me? You're on private property. Leave."

Beatrice ran up and put her arm around her sister's waist. "Don't be so mean to them, Gina." She smiled at the children. "Do you have a mommy and daddy?" Beatrice spoke in a concerned, saccharine-like voice.

The little girl raised her snow-white arm as if beckoning to them.

"Stop it." Gina grabbed Beatrice's shoulder. "Come with me."

Peter hung onto Gina's arm with a deathlike grip, but Beatrice trailed behind. Gina seized her hand and pulled her along.

Gina glanced back and they still stood there. "I'm calling the police!"

How many times have the carts run through the funhouse at Conniesyaught Park? After one hundred years, Nick and May Connors and their four children figure plenty. It's what's inside the funhouse, however, that won't let them rest at night and keeps them looking over their shoulders during the day. After sitting abandoned and forlorn for over thirty years, they bought the old park and hotel on the lake with the good intentions of refurbishing it. Unfortunately, not everything or everyone in life wants to be restored and the family finds out the hard way when ghosts of the past make their presence known to the future, in an ominous and uninviting manner.
Price: $4.99
Spirit Eyes

Written By: Lynn Hones
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

A young child with psychic ability, ghosts who want the truth known, ghosts who want the truth buried-it all adds...

Midnight brought a typical cold night at the lake, and Ruth woke, felt the chill, and turned onto her side to curl against Paul for body warmth. A light went on, and just as quickly it went off. It happened again and Ruth turned her face toward the girl’s bed. The nightlight next to the bottom bunk, where Pearl lay, came back on and then off.

Ruth sat.

“Pearl, what are you doing?” She questioned her in a stage whisper.

The light went on again and she heard her daughter’s tiny voice answer. “I’m turning on the light to see if she’ll go away.”

“Who?”

“That girl who is sitting on the bed between you and Daddy.” Her matter-of-fact tone belied the fear that sight must have caused. Ruth’s stomach reacted as if she’d just taken a quick ride down a hill in the car.

“Sweetie, there’s no one here. There’s no room. Maybe you saw Mr. Puds.”

“No, Mom. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Puddles doesn’t look like a girl. And besides, he’s lying here with me. He saw her, too.”

“Don’t get cheeky,” Ruth said.

“She was there, Mama. She sat right there between you guys. She had long, blonde hair and she had on a headband.”

“How old was she?” Getting used to this now, she figured she’d ask as many questions as she could to see just how real these people were.

“About Lotus’ age.”

“How was she dressed?”

“Her t-shirt had the American flag on it and she was reading a funny looking magazine that said The Archies. I turned the light on and off to see if she would go away, but she wouldn’t. She talked to my mind. She told me to quit staring at her.”

“Was she Asian?”

“No, Mom. Quit asking that. If I see an Asian, I’ll tell you.”

“Okay, but please, Pearl, stop it. You’re creeping me out.” It was late, she was tired, and now she was—guilt-ridden. She shivered from the cold, or was it fear? “I’m sorry,” she sheepishly told her daughter.

“Mommy, can I sleep with you?”

“Of course you can. Come on.” Pearl jumped out of her own bed and Ruth lifted the blankets next to her.

Pearl crawled under them, smashing her tiny body up against her mother’s. “Damn it,” she said.

“Pearl, don’t talk like that,” Ruth admonished.

“I can’t help it, Mommy. It’s what I say when I just can’t take it anymore.”

 

That next morning, with cereal and milk on the kitchen table, they ate while listening to the radio.

“We need internet out here,” Lotus whined. “How am I supposed to go on my sites?”

“You don’t,” Paul said. “That’s why we don’t have it here. So you read more. To live like the pioneer kids of the nineteen-seventies did.”

“Like that girl?” Pearl said.

“What?” Paul put a spoonful of cereal in his mouth and stared at his youngest daughter.

“The one reading the magazine called The Archies?”

Paul glanced at Ruth. “Can someone fill me in?”

“Pearl thinks she saw a girl in bed with us last night,” Ruth said quickly.

“I don’t think I saw her, I know I saw her.”

“Well, did you tell her to get off?” Paul asked with a laugh.

“No, she told me to quit looking at her. She told me to take a picture…it would last longer.”

Paul grew pale. Dismay tightened his features, and he spoke quietly. “What did she look like, Pearl?”

She told him word for word what she’d told her mother the night before. He stood, as if in a serious state of shock, and ambled into one of the lesser-used bedrooms. Upon his return, he laid an old, yellowing Archie comic book on the table.

“Did it—did the comic book look like this?”

“Yeah, Daddy. That’s zactly the one—that boy with the red hair and freckles and those girls with the blonde and black hair.”

A much-subdued Paul sat.  

“What, Paul?” Ruth looked up at him. “Paul?”

A young child with psychic ability, ghosts who want the truth known, ghosts who want the truth buried-it all adds up to the Perfect Spiritual Storm.
Pearl, a happy, vivacious youngster adopted from China, is endowed with a gift for seeing other worldly spirits. Not happy with this power, she tries to understand the ghosts following her, instructing her, and even threatening her. Things go from bad to worse when she sees a spirit with a funny spider on its arm. Alarmed, her mother, Ruth, has her draw the spider, which is actually a Swastika.
How will Pearl and her mother fight the forces of good and evil? Will the frightening truths about their city, their home, their friends, and even their own family unite them, or create chasms that can never be repaired?
 
Price: $4.99
The Cult of Light and Lies

Written By: Lynn Hones
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

One night, and one stupid mistake, turned the life of suburban housewife and mother, Tilley Jenkins, into a prison...

So high, she cared only for the music, the excitement and the fun, euphoric feeling inhabiting her otherwise dull, boring life.

They danced to three songs before heading back to the table. Getting late, a few of their friends left for home.

"Where is everyone?" A cocktail napkin in her hand, Tilley waved it in front of her perspiring face, and appeared concerned.

Maggie, who again gave everyone shots of tequila, smiled.

"They took off and left us. They mumbled something boring about husbands, children and responsibility. So that means we get to do their shots."

Tilley didn't see any problem and drank two in a row.

"Yeah, we're leaving, too," Michelle said.

Maggie spent the evening gaping at a cocky, shaved head cowboy and he finally came over.

"Not yet." Maggie crooked her head his way. "I want to go two-step with John Wayne here." Her hand out, he grasped it and they headed to the dance floor.

Annoyed, Michelle glanced at her watch and shook her head. "All right, a couple more songs and then we're leaving." Ensconced in her chair, she sipped water.

A slow song played and Steve led Tilley to the dance floor.

"I shouldn't be doing this," she slurred.

"You aren't allowed to dance with a friend?" Steve smiled at her sweetly. "Think of me as a friend."

Rhythms from the song melted her body into his and she pulled Steve close, her head on his shoulder, her face turned away. His hands on her hips, he moved them down to the round of her bottom and she felt he'd grown as he rubbed against her.

Facing him again, her lips caressed the stubble on his neck, just below his jaw line. His scent, intoxicating, she put a delicate kiss on his beating pulse.

Michelle witnessed the entire tawdry scene and showed signs of disgust. After they finished and sat down, she glared at Tilley.

"If you want a ride, you have to take it now," she said. She let Tilley know she didn't appreciate her behavior. "I'm leaving."

"I'll take you home later if you want," Steve interrupted.

"Really! Great, yeah," Tilley said. "Thanks."

Michelle gave Steve a deadly stare. "She's coming home with me."

"Tilley's a big girl, I think that's her decision to make," he said.

"Tilley's had too much to drink," Michelle said sarcastically and yet firmly. "So, I think as her friend, I should do what's best for her."

"I'll be fine," Tilley said. "Steve's a friend. We know--each other from w-work. Don't worry. Besides, I'll be with Maggie. Go home."

"You've had a lot to drink, Tilley," Michelle said. "I'm worried. I think you should come home with me."

"God, I'm not friggin four-years-old," she said. "I'll make up my own mind, hiccup, when to go home, thank you very much. I'll thank you to keep your nose out of my, hiccup, business. Steve is a friend. He'll drive me and Maggie home."

Michelle, upset, left reluctantly. Tired of arguing with Tilley, she hoped for the best and depended on the fact Tilley knew Steve from work, although she'd never mentioned him before.

As if bounced out of a time machine, allowing her to replay her days as an unattached college girl, Tilley lived in the moment.

They did more shots and Steve pulled Tilley tight as the night wore on. Her inhibitions completely gone, she let him wrap his arms around her and press himself close. Michelle and her other friends gone, taking their judgmental attitudes with them, she felt free to have some fun.

The crowd thinned to a couple dozen people as the lights came on. Ready to go, the room did a spin and Tilley grabbed a table to steady herself. Darting a worried gaze around, she didn't see Maggie anywhere.

"Where did Maggie go?" Tilley asked Steve woozily.

"She skipped town with the urban cowboy." He took her arm. "Come on, I'll take you home."

Hesitant for a moment, she held onto him and they left the club together. His car, parked in the empty lot, appeared expensive and she attempted to open the door. Coming to her aid, he helped and then gently guided her in.

In the driver's seat, he told her he was lonely, never having found the right woman to spend his life with. Feeling sorry for him, she enjoyed the kiss he placed on her lips, felt honored someone so good looking considered her worthy of such adoration, but her mind raced with worry at the mess she found herself in.

He reached over, cupped her face in his strong hands and kissed her again. His lips, soft and inviting, welcomed her kiss in return. The first man, other than her husband, she'd kissed in twenty-five years. Warm in his car, Tilley pushed a button to lower the window, but it didn't move. Sick, hot and claustrophobic, she only wanted out. "I'm so attracted to you," he said.

One night, and one stupid mistake, turned the life of suburban housewife and mother, Tilley Jenkins, into a prison of paranoia and fear. Dancing and drinking on a rare girl’s night out, feeling young and sexy, she flirts with a man she met briefly. Before she knows it, she’s had too much to drink and no way home. She wakes in the morning and finds herself in bed with him, the first man she’s slept with, besides her husband, in twenty-five years. Her guilt spirals her down the pathway of depression and alcoholism, while her spirited and popular daughter rebels and falls into the hands of neighbors involved in a powerful and outlandish cult. Tilley gets the shock of her life, when she encounters the cult members and their strange beliefs as she fights to regain the trust and love of her daughter, and regain her own self-esteem in the process.
Price: $5.99
Those Who Wait

Written By: Lynn Hones
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Simone O’Henley, recuperating at a remote lakefront cottage from a devastating broken heart, finds anything...

She swatted at him. "Yeah, well, if you knew the night I had, you wouldn't question how glad I am to see you." Relief flooded her like sunlight after a storm and she regaled him with the tale of the night before. Manic, she swallowed hard in between sentences and her eyes resembled moon pies, before he interrupted her.

"What happened here?" He scrutinized the side of the cottage where a board hung haphazardly. "Looks like something hit this with a sledgehammer or something mighty heavy."

Simone, feeling discombobulated for a moment, gasped. "Wow, look at that." She drew closer.

Jackson shook his head. "Is this why you were so glad to see me?"

"Jackson, I heard so many bizarre noises last night. I don't know how long that's been there, but I wouldn't be surprised if it happened last night." With him next to her, she reveled in his presence, the night before seemed years ago. A warm morning with air scented by a cluster of nearby lilac bushes, she glanced his way. "How does breakfast sound to you?" She grabbed his arm and pulled him toward the back porch.

"Sounds wonderful honey." She dragged him around the side of the cottage.

"Did you notice the steps?" he asked.

"The what?" She stopped and let go of his arm and her head turned toward the stairs. "What the heck!" She hadn't noticed the holes in her excitement to meet Jackson. Not just holes, but giant gaping wounds met her gaze, as if ripped out by someone with colossal, vice-like hands. "Jackson, who would do this? Why would they do this?"

"I don't know, darlin'. It was awful windy last night. Could be the gusts ripped these out. They're old and getting warped."

Simone shook her head.

His face turned serious and he asked, "What exactly happened here last night?"

"Jackson, I told you, I heard noises and locked the bedroom. I didn't have the guts to deal with whatever was around. Whoever it was, came into the cottage. I heard them outside the door. They couldn't get in and they slammed on it so hard it practically knocked it down. I tell you, I was scared to death."

Appearing to appreciate the chance to help, he rolled his sleeves and moved to take out the remaining piece of step. "I'll look at these. They look awfully old. It may be that someone was trying to scare you and purposely jumped to break 'em. Regardless, they need replaced."

Jackson worked outside and Simone went in to put on the teapot. She heard him bang around and smiled when she thought of how afraid she had been the night before and now with him here, she felt so safe, so secure. She brought him a cup of tea and put it on the wicker table while she sipped hers and watched.

"I've got some lumber at my place. I think I have something that will fit these just fine."

A plank came out with one final pull and he turned it over and dropped it. He rubbed his arm to rid it of the gooseflesh that covered it.

"Jackson, are you all right? What happened?"

He didn't answer, but continued to rub his arm.

"Jackson, are you okay?"

He came out of his trance-like state long enough to look at her. "I…I'm…" he cleared his throat. “I'm fine. I thought I saw an animal or something in there. It's nothing though."

"It doesn't seem as if everything is fine." She watched him rub his arm. She walked over to curiously inspect the board. "Look here, there's writing on the underside. What's it say?" She squinted and rubbed at the letters. "It's so faded, but it looks like it says Beyond this point. That's an odd thing."

Jackson stared at her.

Simone, now interested in the new discovery, momentarily forgot Jackson's reaction. "Wait, I'll bet the rest of the writing is on another one." She wore the smile of a detective with a mystery to solve.

"No!" said Jackson, loudly. "Let me measure this and burn it. I'll replace the others later."

Taken aback by his abruptness, slight shock showed on her face. "Oh, okay, fine. I guess you're right. This isn't my place, after all."

Jackson picked the slat up.

Simone O’Henley, recuperating at a remote lakefront cottage from a devastating broken heart, finds anything but rest. The noises and moans she hears coming out of a nearby grove of trees terrify her, but are soon tempered by the company of handsome Jackson Taylor. The locals have never heard of him and are convinced he’s a land developer ready to snatch up their land at the first opportunity. He convinces Simone he is a simple caretaker looking over land for a friend, but her heart speaks the loudest. After he disappears, she travels far and wide to find him and the truth. A truth that turns her entire world upside down and throws everything she has ever believed into the winds of common sense and reason.
Price: $5.99
Yesterday's Island

Written By: Lynn Hones
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Young, rambunctious Rose lives with her father and two sisters in a world of magnificence and splendor, maids and...

“Do you want to know a secret?” she said in a whisper.

“Yes, of course.”

She took Anastasia by the hand and explained to Miss Pigeon they were going to the water closet. Through a labyrinth of vestibules and foyers, they went, Rose glancing over her shoulder on occasion lest they be followed.

“What is it?” Anastasia said. Her face flushed. “We should join all others, I’m to get very nervous.”

“Don’t be nervous,” Rose said. “This is an adventure.”

They stopped before entering an immense, dark hallway.

“This is it?”

“What?” Anastasia asked.

“Where the door is.”

“We really will go back now,” Anastasia said, concern dripping from each word.

“We’re not allowed to open it. Actually,” Rose glanced about, “we aren’t even allowed in this wing of the house.” Trancelike, she stared down the long hall until Anastasia grabbed her arm.

“Come, let’s go back. I do not like this…it feels to be wrong.”

Rose continued to stare. “Papa said if we open it, there is death on the other side.” She licked her lips, her gaze intent.

Anastasia pulled Rose away. “You must to stop this silliness.”

“I have to tell someone or I’ll lose my mind,” Rose said. She floated back to reality, but wasn’t quite on solid ground…just yet. “I have a secret.”

“If you promise me we head back after telling to me, I’ll listen patiently,” Anastasia said.

Rose spoke softly. “I used to have another sister.”

“What!”

“Yes, she was a year older than Flora and beautiful. The most beautiful of us all with red hair just like me, and I hear, a very fiery temper.”

Anastasia looked right and then left. “Okay, you told me, now let us to go back to the others.”

“Please, listen,” Rose begged. “No one else will. I saw her. I followed her the day she opened the door. She told me to go back, but I hesitated. I saw her go through but she never came out again. I ran away as fast as I could, down the hall, back to my room. After that, we were forbidden to even mention her name. It’s as if she never existed. My sisters are terrified to talk of her, and Miss Pigeon has punished me if I even look like I’m thinking of her.”

Anastasia grabbed her by the arm. “I no longer will suffer listening to such nonsense as this. If you do not stop such talk, I shall leave to my Russia tomorrow. You are frightening me.”

“Oh, no! Don’t go. I’m so sorry, Anastasia. I needed a friend to hear me. I didn’t mean to upset you so.”

They walked back in silence. Rose, upset about disturbing her friend, she could tell Anastasia was now frightened and anxious, all because of her.

Young, rambunctious Rose lives with her father and two sisters in a world of magnificence and splendor, maids and servants at their beck and call. On the dawn of the Great War, when the world is still innocent and clean, Rose is taught to inhibit her natural instincts of curiosity and inquisitiveness. She is trained to be quiet and lady-like by a governess who expects nothing less than perfection and a father whose love reminds her daily that she can have anything her heart desires. Only one thing is forbidden. The Door. The secrets that lay beyond it, she is told, are so unfathomable that to gaze upon them will cause only death. Unfortunately, Rose must know. She must find out what those secrets are and whether The Door is an exit to the freedom she craves or an entrance to a hell from which she’d never find escape.
Price: $2.99