The tears won’t stop

September 28th, 2016

Amongst all of our plans for moving and getting to the next chapter in our life, we’ve lost one of our family this afternoon.

20140630_161143Dageus has crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. We’d hoped he would be able to make the trip back to Washington with us but it wasn’t in the stars.

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“From the day we brought you home, with your little tiger stripes, you were determined to be bigger than you were. Clarke and Isis took you in and raised you as a GSD. I remember watching you jump onto them to get them to play, hanging from Clarke’s muzzle as he walked around the house without a care in the world. I watched them correct the bad behavior (clawing on furniture or curtains) and you never had to be corrected again. You were groomed on the table as they were, would sit for nail trimming and never gave me issues when it came time for bathing.

When they got bandanas you had to have one as well, so we gave you one. You were so proud. When Isis had to wear a cone, you would curl up in it so she wasn’t lonely. When we got stationed on the East Coast, you handled the trip like a trooper, not crying on the ride, just being quiet as you lay crated next to the dogs. You settled in here with them.

You offered me comfort as I lost Clarke, clarke2my heart dog, then later when Isis vcm_s_kf_m160_160x120followed him over the Rainbow Bridge, you were there, forgoing your usual avoiding everyone attitude. You’ve since raised 4 borzoi and taught them how to behave around cats and smaller animals. Over these past few weeks, I’ve watched you try to hide the pain you were in, try to continue being the same cat you’ve always been.

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When we got to the vet, you curled up against my heart and purred as you put your head beneath my chin. You purred as my tears fell, as if understanding the pain I felt as well, not concerned with your own. I was the last thing you saw and my voice the last you heard.

Dageus, I will never forget you. I love you and my heart is hurting without you here. But I know you are with Clarke and Isis now, my Three Musketeers are together again, waiting until the day we are reunited. Give them both my love and never forget how much you gave me and our life here. It was so much better having had you in it with us to share.”

Wednesday Whisper ~ Chasing the Storm

September 28th, 2016

So, while I was stargazing one night (something I love to do but don’t get as much of a chance given I’m in the city for the time being) I started thinking about romances where they are tied to signs of the Zodiac. And not just Aries, Taurus, etc, but the Chinese Zodiac. So, after some thought, I came up with my own version of some Guardians for the world. This is the first of six in the series.

There is a connected serial which is the story of the man who raises these young Guardians and that is: Keeper of the Stars.

Section one is free from Totally Bound’s website: https://www.totallybound.com/book/keeper-of-the-stars-part-one

Then there is this one:

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Sometimes all you get is a tiny flash…

Cale Mattox is the first of the Astral Guardians to find his artefact. The woman who wears it has her own past she’s running from.

Taylor Kenyon is tired—the family who wants her dead is beginning to gain on her. This man, Cale, gives her a sense of comfort she’s never had before and creates feelings no one else has. Together they will fight the approaching darkness.

Can he protect her as well as convince her that he needs more than just the artefact?

*****

The cold winds bit into Cale’s skin as he careened down the mountain, barely missing the trees as they whipped by him. He loved it, the freedom of skiing. Above him, he spied the silhouette of the chopper that had dropped him off higher than the tree line. Just how he liked it. Cale loved utilising a chopper to carry him high up into the mountains—it assisted his adrenaline rush when he raced back down to the base. Seeing it as it flew away made him realise even more just how alone he was up here. He wouldn’t have it any other way.

Some may prefer to vacation along the beaches and soak up the rays beside women wearing next to nothing. Personally, he liked the snow, and women who wanted to do something other than tan and have people deliver them drinks.

Which could very well explain why he didn’t have a girlfriend. He zigged and zagged around the trees, waiting until the last moment to change direction, cutting it as close as possible.

He was tired by the time he made it back down the mountain. In a good way, but tired. Skis in hand, he slowly strolled to the lodge, smoke rolling from its stacks reminding him how warm it would be inside. He put his things away then headed back down to the main floor where he went to the bar. Drink order in, he waited and looked about the room.

There were two men in one corner who had him immediately suspicious. He was typically very easy going, but there was something about them that had him watching them with much more caution. They wore the correct things yet they still didn’t fit. He knew they were full humans and not demons, or the like which carried the rank scent of sulphur. His drink arrived and he promptly put them out of his mind.

In a chair by the window, he stared out over the slopes and smiled. This was his last day of vacation and he had every intention of enjoying himself. And he held true to that. By the time he boarded his plane a day later, he was exhausted and looking forward to the long flight so he could get some rest.

Those same two men boarded and walked past him. He didn’t like the warning ripples that exploded out from him. His instincts weren’t wrong about people, and not ignoring them had been his reason for survival more often than not as a teen. He wasn’t about to ignore his instincts now, either. Acting as if he needed something from his bag, he located where they were and memorised their looks. He again took his seat and closed his eyes, but he was as alert as he’d ever been.

“You’re nervous, Cale. Everything okay?”

The sound of his foster sister in his head calmed him instantly. “How do you manage to feel everything we do, Dracen?”

A light chuckle echoed in his mind. “Thankfully it’s not everything, but you’re seriously on edge. Where are you?”

“Flying home. Where are you? Hot date?”

“Mind yourself, Cale. It’s late here. Everyone’s sleeping.”

“Except you.” A fact that worried him. Dracen, of all his siblings, seemed to sleep the least. Especially recently. There’d been dark circles beneath her eyes last he’d seen her and he would bet anything that hadn’t changed in the time he’d been gone.

“Obviously not me if I’m talking to you. Now tell me why you’re nervous.”

“There were two men at the lodge who didn’t fit and now they’re on the plane with me. I can’t explain why I feel it, I just do.”

“You never have to explain it, Cale. We all understand.”

“I will be just fine, Dracen. Don’t worry. You need to get some sleep. Or do I have to tell on you?”

“We’re no longer teens, Cale. Tattling won’t have any effect.”

He smirked and crossed his arms. “It will if I tell Tiarnán.”

“Low blow.”

“Yet apparently necessary.”

Tiarnán was the eldest of the foster children who’d been taken in by Lian Yang who had stayed. Throughout the decades, Lian had sheltered many. Most of those had left when they reached eighteen or twenty. Of those currently there now, even ones who’d stayed past eighteen, he and Dracen had been there the longest, while Cale had been there seven years, arriving at age fourteen. Full of anger, mistrust and suspicion. It had been bumpy for a while but soon, something had clicked in his head and he’d realised this man, Lian, was different from everyone else he’d been sent to.

They were his family now.

“Be careful, Cale.”

“Always am, sister.”

The connection broke. It was odd to him, being able to talk with his siblings this way. He couldn’t do it other than with the other five who were different, like him. They were a unique bunch, whom Lian said had bigger challenges ahead. For the moment, there were only six of them who’d stayed after becoming of legal age. There were plenty of younger children, who they all chipped in helping with, but none older than eighteen except him and his five that he could communicate telepathically with whenever he wished.

He smiled at the airline attendant when she served him his food. Thankfully there was no one seated in his row, so he took the seat by the window and angled himself to where he could see behind him more. He wasn’t about to be caught off guard.

Cale ate slowly, watching the attendants move back and forth making sure everyone was looked after. One woman stopped before him and he didn’t realise he was staring until she cleared her throat.

“I’m sorry,” he said with a blush.

“Can I get you something else to drink?”

Lord, she was pretty thing. “Coke please. With ice.”

She flashed a grin. “Right away.”

He could see himself spending some nights with her. With another flirtatious smile, he took his drink then watched her walk away. Nice legs. Another woman, a passenger this time, walked by and he couldn’t even begin to explain the punch to his gut that happened. As if all air had been sucked from his lungs, he bent over with a wheeze.

She barely paused, just flicked a glance at him. Then she frowned and stepped closer. “Are you okay?” Her voice was low and melodic.

“Choked on my drink,” he managed to say once he’d got some air back in his lungs. “Went down wrong.”

Her smile lit up her face and he found himself returning it. “I’m sorry. Glad you’re feeling better.” She leant forward a bit and her necklace fell free from her shirt.

He was riveted on the pendant. Gold, elegant in a way he’d never seen before. The symbol on it was one he’d seen before but couldn’t quite place. Everything within him wanted to yank it off her and keep it for himself. Keep it next to him, against his own flesh. His back burned and he shifted in his seat

Too Dangerous to Love

September 27th, 2016

Book 2 in the quad series.

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Alaskan Wilderness

The distant yet distinctive whirr of blades sliced the crisp air, interrupting the peaceful sounds of nature that surrounded the spectacular log home. There in the middle of nowhere sat a large two story octagonal shaped log home. A full porch ran the circumference of the home and had pieces of cedar furniture strategically placed on it. Tables, chairs and more. All of it handmade. All of it beautifully crafted.

Smack in the middle of this wild untamed beauty known as Alaska the home sat. Not a house but a home where the owner found her peace. There a solitary woman sat in complete tranquility on one of the hand-carved cedar porch swings. She looked up and away from her book only briefly as some indescribable emotion flashed across her face, coinciding with the moment her two canine companions raised their heads to the sky.

The new noise was not difficult for her to identify. Not in the least. She knew it was a UH-60 Black Hawk chopper used by the Army mostly, but not in this case. It was a personal one. If she wanted to think on it she could pretty much hazard a guess on who the pilots were that sat at the controls.

Two pairs of intelligent eyes, almond-shaped and dark in color stared up into the cloudless blue sky as the solid black helicopter came into view. Once it landed in the clearing near the cabin the two dogs rose and placed themselves on either side of the woman.

She still sat motionless on her swing as she continued to read her book ignoring the fact that a large aircraft just landed in her front yard flattening the lush green grasses with the force of air from its revolving chopper blades.

Three men jumped out of the chopper, heads low to avoid the rotor wash as they ran towards the large odd shaped house. They stopped at the bottom of the porch steps for both dogs had begun to growl low in their throats. The noise they made was barely discernible over the chopper but the three standing there at the base of the steps heard it just fine. Loud and clear their message was received and understood. Come no further.

The three men were dressed completely in black, both shirts and BDU’s with nine millimeters strapped on them as well. Not a single hint of emotion showed on their faces as they looked up at the woman on the porch who still ignored them and kept reading her book.

The woman, not exactly what one would expect to be out in the middle of nowhere surrounded by mountains and crystal clear lakes. Her skin color shone a rich nut brown, clear with health, her hair black as pitch and it shone in the rays of sunlight that managed to find her under the porch’s roof.

Especially in the wilds of Alaska most people didn’t find many African-Americans, but there one sat. And she sat there paying no heed to the three Caucasian men that stood at the bottom of her steps.

The man in the middle, who had silver oak leaves on his shoulders cleared his throat and spoke in a deep rough voice. “Serenity. We need your help.” Not any response from the woman except maybe to sigh and turn the page of her book. And that sigh was unlikely. He tried again, “Serenity. Can we at least come up and talk to you?”

Eyes so severe of a brown they appeared almost black, flicked up to glance up the men showing no emotion one way or another, silently dismissed them and went back to her book. She finished reading her page and put in a picture of the two dogs as a bookmark.

With a totally unhurried motion she placed the book on the seat next to her before swinging her denim clad legs to the floor and gaining her feet. The men stared at her as she progressed toward the steps. Her hair put up in a simple ponytail moved with every elegant step she took.

Her motions effortless and it appeared that she just kind of glided across the wooden porch. Her body was supple, strong and fit. She wore fitted blue jeans that showed off her firm butt and muscular legs. An oversized faded black sweatshirt sporting a Marine logo covered the top half of her body, indicating that it was a well liked article of clothing and worn often. However there was no way to disguise the full breasts that lingered under the cotton she wore.

There below the jeans, a pair of worn and comfortable hiking boots sat on her feet and as she began to walk down the steps, slowly as if she had not a care in the world, the dogs fell into step with her. One on each side. Hackles were not raised and they were silent but none of the men relaxed for they weren’t fooled.

 

The dogs were impressive to view, as was the woman who walked between them. Although relatively easy to tell that one dog was female and the other male, it was even easier to know that both of them were devoted to their mistress and would protect her at all costs. They were waiting for the slightest signal from her and they would go into immediate attack mode or if they determined on their own that she was in danger.

None of the men wished to tangle with the dogs, or the woman. They had seen the dogs in action and knew what damage and destruction they could inflict. What they had witnessed had been in a planned scenario and for training purposes only, but it was enough. The dogs had gained their respect then and the woman herself a known force to be reckoned with. All the men knew of her feats. And of her sacrifices. She was somewhat of a legend in their circles.

The dogs were beautiful. Their bodies were covered in semi-plush coats. The female appeared onyx black and a deep brick red while the male shone solid obsidian black. Ears stood upright and eyes assessed. Coats were shiny with health and they knew the teeth were sharp, with a jaw that could clamp down in excess of three hundred pounds of pressure to easily break the ulna or radius. Both dogs, German shepherds that were stunning examples of their breed.

Monday Query

September 26th, 2016

So, this week I’m asking about TV shows. Is there a show that you must see? That you always DVR and watch as soon as you possibly can find some time? What show is that? Doesn’t have to be a new show either, can be something from the past.

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Exub Photo Stock

Sunday Sentiment

September 25th, 2016
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Exub Photo Stock

Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.

~Rumi

Saturday Selection

September 24th, 2016

Dipping back into the historical world for a week.

410sJ3BekuLStolen by marauding Danes, Helena’s desperate to escape their camp. She wants to return home, but the wolf-eyed Viking who bought her has his own plans. Wearied of the sword, Hakan wants a quiet farmer’s life, yet peace eludes the chieftain. His once tranquil homeland’s in turmoil, and his new Frankish thrall vexes him for her freedom. Even worse, the fair maid lures him with laughter and smiles. Betrayal has left the warrior cold to other women, but one hot summer changes everything. Hakan’s icy heart thaws to his clever thrall. Helena weaves happiness into his hard life, and she soon questions her own desires. But, shadows of deceit spread across the kingdom, reaching Hakan’s farm. Old loyalties call on the Viking to wield his sword again, but at what cost? Before summer ends, master and thrall must answer the hardest question…How much would you pay for love?

Wednesday Whisper ~ Justice is Always Ready

September 21st, 2016

While not technically the first in the series, this is the first one published. This is a family saga series that starts during the time of the Buffalo Soldiers and ends current time. This story is one of the twins who currently serve their country. Meet Justice.

Justice LG

Will she accept…or walk away leaving him with nothing more than the memory of her touch?

Jamal “Justice” Graham is an officer in the US Coast Guard. He thought his life was perfect until one rainy day when he meets Kassidy Barrow. He can’t get her out of his mind and sets out to pursue her.

Kassidy flies under the radar, trying to please her parents and taking pride in her work at the library. When Justice comes into her life he exposes her to a side she didn’t think she would be experiencing in her life.

His work, her family, and life get in the way and she tries to push him away. He’s a man who lives the USCG motto and Justice is Always Ready. She is the world to him and he doesn’t have any plans on letting her go.

******

Justice almost choked on the cool liquid sliding down his throat. Blinking a few times, he checked, then double-checked, to make sure it wasn’t his imagination. It wasn’t. Leaning against the bar, in tight black pants and a white halter-top stood none other than Kassidy. She had one

heeled boot propped up, an elbow on the bar, and a bottle of beer dangling from her fingers as she spoke to the bartender.

“Excuse me, guys,” he murmured as he took another drink and headed toward her. In the back of his mind he heard his friends commenting, but none of it registered. He had one thing in mind.

Justice stepped up behind her, almost touching but not. He met the bartender’s gaze briefly, long enough to make his claim clear. Then he lowered his head, inhaled the intoxicating and alluring scent of dark amber with a hint of vanilla. Desire, lust, and something else flashed through him.

“Good evening, Kassidy,” he whispered in her ear.

She jumped with surprise and Justice groaned as he reached around her to help steady her drink.

“Oh… oh… you scared me,” she stuttered, turning to face him.

Justice forced himself not to give in and kiss her. Behave, man! It wasn’t easy. He couldn’t think of another woman who could banish all train of thought from his mind as this one could. Kassidy wore a bare minimum of makeup and his gaze lingered on her lips after her tongue snuck out to dampen them.

“Sorry,” he apologized. Leaning against the bar he lost himself in her gray eyes. “Do you come here often?”

Silence fell before they both laughed.

“Wow,” she teased, “that’s a line I haven’t heard in a while.”

“Didn’t mean for it to sound like that. Just I don’t recall seeing you in here before.”

“I’ve not been. Just came to meet someone.”

Possessiveness reared up within him. “Really?” he asked, well aware he sounded all growly.

If Kassidy noticed the surly attitude she made no mention of it. “Yes. Ethan, the bartender.”

He snapped his gaze to the tall, dark-haired white man behind the bar. Observant blue eyes stared back at him. What the hell?

“Ethan?” he asked again, looking between the two of them.

“Yes. Lucy wanted me to meet her boyfriend.” Kassidy glanced over her shoulder and waved at Ethan. “He’s a very nice guy. I’m happy for them both,” she said when she met his gaze again.

Relief swamped him. “So he’s not your man?”

She stared at him, took a long, slow drink from the bottle. His body responded as he observed the way her lips curled around the mouth of the longneck.

“Nope,” she finally responded.

Justice leaned closer. “Anyone in here your man?”

Kassidy finished eliminating the distance between them, their lips millimeters apart. “Not yet.”

A Little Taste of Home

September 20th, 2016

First of the Quad series. Later out this year than intended but I’m putting them all out.

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“We the jury, find the defendant guilty.” The monotonous tone of the jury foreman rang across the silent courtroom.

Guilty. Well that was it. Her life was officially over. Is there some divine plan for me here Lord? ‘Cause I am feeling a bit left out of it. The young woman remained stoic as she digested the verdict.

“Very well. Sentencing will begin nine o’clock on Monday.” The judge’s gavel hit and it was final. She was officially a felon.

Her lawyer turned to her and shrugged. “Sorry about that.”

Sorry? That was all he could say? Sorry? Pitiful excuse for a lawyer. Charging all that money for such a weak defense. Now he didn’t even seem to care. Not that he ever seemed to do so.

Rising with a calm she far from felt, Sanura nodded once to her lawyer and followed him out of the courtroom. “We need to meet and discuss what you want to do next,” the attorney said. His beady little eyes basically had dollar signs flashing in them as they racked up her expenses for whatever came next.

Sanura followed him into a small room and shut the door behind her. After he sat she did too. She waited for him to say something.

Anything.

She was on autopilot as she could hardly believe the verdict.

“We need to decide if you want to file an appeal or not.”

Sanura swung her eyes towards the pale man that sat across from her. He was a man that didn’t have much of a neck, more overweight than stocky. She sat in silence as she watched a bead of sweat run down his face and disappear into the expensive fabric of his suit. At that single moment she despised every single white person in the world.

Every solitary one.

And that hate included even her birth mother, whom she hadn’t seen since she was six years old. For that one flash of a moment Sanura even hated the part of herself that was white. Not that she was considered white, for she had way more than a drop of black blood in her, and for the masses of society all it took was a single drop. One single drop of blood from a black person in your lineage and you were branded as being black.

Don’t get me wrong Lord, I don’t have a problem with who I am. Even though life doesn’t always treat me fair, I have learned to roll with the punches and appreciate the woman I was allowed to become, but some days I would just like to know what it is like to not be judged by the color of ones skin. Particularly mine.

She should have trusted her gut. Should have gone with a different lawyer. Should have taken the stand. Should have never worked for that damn job.

How in the hell could a bunch of reasonable people find her guilty? The video tape that they claimed to have used to see her doing this so-called offense had gone missing. That was of course after it had gotten distorted and finally was had been declared ‘all shadow,’ so nothing could be made out of it. Her old boss had changed her story so much it gave Sanura whiplash trying to keep up.

Then there were the documents. They were all forged with her signature and her boss even admitted doing that. This in itself was a felony, not that they seemed to care. Not that it mattered. No matter what the year, as long as a black defendant sat before a lily-white jury the verdict would be the same. Guilty.

Her eyes watched the man that she had grown to despise for his lack of motivation to clear her name. “I am done. No appeals no nothing. Just get it over with.”

The light dimmed in his eyes as the lawyer realized that his money was coming to an end with her. His voice was almost scornful when he said, “Very well. Sign this. Hopefully the judge won’t be too hard on you. You haven’t been in trouble before have you?”

That scum. He knew the answer. Nonetheless her tone stayed modulated as she answered, “No. I have no record.” Until now. Now she was a bloody flippin’ felon.

“Well, I will need to work on an argument for the judge. Don’t leave town and be here about thirty minutes early on Monday morning.”

What did he take her for? An idiot? Of course she wouldn’t leave town. “Fine. I will see you Monday.” Sanura rose and walked out the door, with her head high even though on the inside she was screaming with pain and fury.

 

Monday Query

September 19th, 2016

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What type of plants to you like? Indoor? Outdoor? Small? Large?

Sunday Sentiment

September 18th, 2016
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Exub Photo Stock

Two there are who are never satisfied — the lover of the world and the lover of knowledge.

~Rumi