Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Future Blogging...

Due to time constraints with writing schedule, kids, volunteer work, I won't be hosting tours any longer. I'll do an occasional one but they will be posted on my regular blog.

Thanks for all who have stopped by and check out great new authors and support authors! 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Guest Blog: A. M. Griffin

Dangerously Mine by A.M. Griffin
Ellora’s Cave
Sci Fi/Erotic

In Dangerously Mine I introduce my readers to two different worlds: Xenaris and Sonis. For Xenaris, the trading planet, I wanted to make it seedy and uncomfortable. Taio and his men find themselves on Xenaris because their vessel breaks down, otherwise they would never travel to such a place. The short time they are on Xenaris, Taio witnesses a couple getting pick pocketed, the owners of the local markets are price gauging him and his crew, the market is overcrowded, the heat is unbearable and he witness the slave market in full swing. By the time he leaves Xenaris we understand why Taio dislikes it so much and why he didn’t want to land there in the first place.
I wanted Sonis to have the opposite feel from Xenaris. Although Sonis is a desert planet with two rotating suns, the suns represent light and hope. Eva, my heroine, often finds herself looking up at the sky or welcoming the sun’s rays on her skin. Where Xenaris was over crowded, Sonis is a new and growing world. Sonis is filled with bright colors and artwork, suggesting of their relaxing and calm attitude.
In the follow-up books that I’m writing, I expand more on the science-fiction aspects of the worlds that I’m building. I love writing sci-fi. There are no rules and the possibilities are endless. My characters and worlds are subjected to my every whim (bwahahaha).


After aliens invade and conquer Earth, Eva is transported to a distant slave trading planet. Escape and freedom are her only priority, but none of her martial arts training prepared her for what she faces. She finds herself enslaved to the warrior King Taio. Eva’s drawn to this sexy alien male who ignites her heart and body.

Taio is disgusted with the idea of owning a slave—until now. From the moment he sees her, he knows Eva is his for the taking. Torn between lust and duty, Taio knows nothing will stop him from protecting his little warrior. 

Excerpt 1: 
Taio Xochis hated coming to Xenaris. The place was always filled to capacity with traders from all over the galaxy. Everyone knew that if you needed hard-to-find items, go to Xenaris. Right now, he definitely needed a pulson emitter for his disabled vessel.
Their vessel had run into trouble going through the Interplanetary Travel System. Ankon, his pilot, had been lucky to avert a space collision. If anyone could have done it, it was him. In order to return home to Sonis, they needed to get the vessel up to light speed and the only place Ankon could find the part he needed was on Xenaris, the last place Taio ever wanted to be.
Finding what he needed had been easy enough, but it cost as much as a small planet. As soon as the merchants spotted the Sonis Royal Crest on the arm of his black skin suit, they tripled the price.
“How much longer do we have to stay here?” Taio asked. He watched in disgust as a Lorandian thief used his skills to pilfer trinkets off an unsuspecting couple. If the thief had tried that on Sonis, he would have had his hands removed and his lifeless body thrown into the Singha Ocean. With the help of his royal guards, crime was almost nonexistent on the newly developed world.
“Ankon thinks we will be ready to go before nightfall,” Rasha replied.
Although Xenaris was a trading planet, it still held many dangers. This place was no Utopia. Taio and Rasha both kept their senses on high alert.
Taio and his crew members all came from Drazlan, the home planet, and had relocated to Sonis, the moon that rotated around Drazlan. Drazlan was hot, humid, sunny and dry and also one of the three sand planets in the Zaronna System. While many thought Drazlan’s climate was harsh, they thought Sonis’ climate was no better. Because of the harsh climates of the sand planets, the inhabitants all had many of the same characteristics, golden-colored skin, although the tone varied between individuals, dark-colored hair and they were all tall in stature. 
“The sooner, the better. This place makes my skin crawl,” Taio replied.
Taio, Rasha and some of the other crew members walked through one of the many overcrowded markets on the small dusty planet. The sun was almost unbearable, even for a male who grew up on a planet that circled two suns. He had his shoulder-length hair pulled off his face and secured at the nape of his neck. Still, the sun’s rays assaulted him. Xenaris had the harsh climate one would expect from a planet that was set too close to its sun.
The crowd of locals and visitors parted, giving him and his crew a wide berth as they took the time to look for goods that would be needed for the journey home. While the merchants saw unlimited credits when they looked at the royal crest, others saw mercenaries, warriors, guards.
Taio knew the effect he and his crew had on everyone, but there was no point getting back on the vessel just yet. It was docked on a space station, undergoing repairs. So while they waited, some of the crew picked up trinkets for loved ones, while others purchased goods for themselves. Taio purchased a gem necklace for his younger sister, Saia. Of course, the price had been exorbitant, but the necklace matched her eyes.
They walked by a crowd that suddenly went from a small hum to an eruption of roars. “The slave market is in full swing.” Rasha noted.
Taio sneered, his lip curled in distaste. He had no desire to stop by the slave markets Xenaris was famous for. In fact, even after forty-one birth cycles, bile rose in his throat at the idea of beings sold as if they were worth no more than an inexpensive trinket or bauble. He could not stand to watch as beings were sold into slavery while others enjoyed the melee it caused.
Slave trading had been outlawed many cycles ago on every planet in this galaxy except for Xenaris. At that time, Xenaris’ ambassadors petitioned the Galactic Council to legalize slave trading on their planet. After all, Xenaris was famous for its trading and hard-to-find items. The request had been granted with certain exceptions. Humane protection must be provided for those being sold.
As he was about to pass the podium where the slaves were being held, his eyes caught what had undoubtedly made the crowd erupt. Standing on the platform was a small female fighting two Tresdonians. They were short in stature, but made up for it in their dense physical make-up. He’d had the opportunity to take one down during a job when he was still a mercenary. He knew from experience they were not easy to fight.
Yet here he stood, watching the small female use her flexibility to outmaneuver her captors and eventually free herself from their grasp. By the condition of her face, the Tresdonians had a hell of a time getting her to the auction block. She appeared beaten, with a multitude of bruises. He forced in a breath and clenched his fists as he noticed that one of her eyes was most likely lost, the swelling and discoloration of it alone was enough to make him cringe. Shame, he thought.
As the crowd roared around him, he stood in awe. Using the muscles in her short legs, she caught one of her captors between them, squeezing her knees around his neck, taking him down. She flipped this way and that, taking full advantage of an arm that was obviously dislocated and useless to unbalance her other captor. With one down, she charged at the other, flipping him over her shoulder. Then she ran.
Taio looked on in puzzlement as the young female ran back toward the slave cage. No one escaped their captors only to run back to captivity. But before she got a chance to reach her destination, the Tresdonian took out a stun gun and shot the fleeing female in her back. She went down with a thud. The crowd went silent.
The Tresdonian advanced. He had to stop this. “Hold your position!” 

Enjoy! Griffin 

Author Bio:
A.M. Griffin is a wife who rarely cooks, mother of three, dog owner (and sometimes dog owned), a daughter, sister, aunt and friend. She’s a hard worker whose two favorite outlets are reading and writing. She enjoys reading everything from mystery novels to historical romances and of course fantasy romance. She is a believer in the unbelievable, open to all possibilities from mermaids in our oceans and seas, angels in the skies and intelligent life forms in distant galaxies.
You can find out what else I’m working on by visiting: http://www.amgriffinbooks.com
Follow me on Twitter! https://twitter.com/AMGriffinbooks 

Excerpt 2: 
Eva pressed her face against the rectangular window in the training room, watching the lights of unknown origin whiz by. She stood in one of the training rooms Ship had sequestered for her. After lunch, she felt more than a little stir-crazy. She needed to work off some of the tension that coiled around her muscles. It took all her strength not to get up and leave the dining hall while Taio’s gaze bored through her back. Did he really have to keep sending those smoldering looks her way?
His lavender eyes locked on her whenever she entered a room. The intensity of his gaze made her body respond in a way that she didn’t want it to. No one would ever consider her to be a coward. But there was something about the way he looked at her that had her frightened.
And that tattoo on his face. Sometimes it intrigued her and other times it made her scared. Who would allow such an intricate drawing to be completed? The pain alone would have been enough to deter any sane person from getting it, alien or not.
His body was a whole different story. It was downright criminal to have a body like his. The man had a body that would make a nun want to sin. He was tall, unbelievably so, but he was all rippling muscle.
This vessel was full of men and the only one who would give her a second glance was Taio. The thought should have given her some type of comfort. Instead of beating off twenty men, there was only one she would have to worry about. There was no mistaking his intentions. Every time he looked her way, it was as if he were willing her clothes to fall from her body. Her only counterattack so far was to stay away from him.
But she did have to agree with Ship, being under the care of Taio was for the best right now. She was fed, the dining hall was open around the clock, which was a plus. Oftentimes she found herself standing in front of the computer, requesting the buro flank with nitlick soup after everyone else was fast asleep. These were the closest thing to Earth food she could find. They had the same taste as chicken and tomato soup.
She was finally clean. Although she would have loved to feel the caress of running water on her skin again, the ionized shower hit the spot. She had clothes, which, although they were tight, were at least clean. And most of all, she didn’t feel her safety was in any type of jeopardy, not at the moment.
She wanted to find Ally, but she had to face the hard facts.
She was far away from home.
In an alien world.
No money whatsoever.
Nowhere to go.
And alone.
Finally, pulling herself away from the window, she pulled a training bag from the corner to start her workout.
Hand-to-hand combat always made her feel primal, the main reason she loved it so much.
Within minutes, her training suit clung to her body, the lightweight material not constricting her movements at all. Perspiration covered her from head to toe, her once tied-back hair hanging wet and loose around her. Her muscles thrived under the workout, coming alive once again.
Heavy breathing behind her caught her off guard. She flipped away, landing in a fighting stance facing the intruder.
Taio stood in the doorway, watching. He gave a curt nod her way, the acknowledgement doing nothing to make her feel relaxed.
“You have good skills, Eva.” He hooked his thumbs in the waist of his pants and leaned on the doorway.
Her name never sounded better.
“Thank you.” She relaxed and straightened, her eyes still watching him. This was his first time speaking to her since their ill-fated first encounter.
She didn’t dare move closer, especially since she still didn’t know his intentions. She didn’t move away either, fearing he would view that as a sign of weakness. So she stood her ground, her body betraying her in the worst way. Her heart sped up a little and her breathing became more labored. Now she found her nipples hardening as her name rolled off his tongue. 
I know trouble when I see it. 
Eva willed her body to fight against whatever “mojo” he was throwing at her.
Taio walked into the room and took a sword off a rack on the wall. He began flexing it, testing its weight. The gesture caused his arm and chest muscles to ripple with each movement. 
“Who taught you fighting moves?” he asked.
“My sensei, he lived back home.”
“Earth,” he said as a statement, rather than a question.
“Yes, Earth. Ann Arbor, Michigan, more specifically.”
She eyed the weapons on the wall. She was trained to use various fighting weapons—sais, kamas, knives, nunchakus, bo staffs and swords. She could show him a thing a two.
She walked over to the rack and took another sword off the wall. 
It weighed a ton! No wonder he smirked when she picked it up. Even though she strained to hold it in both hands, she made sure not to let him know. She would give anything to smack that look right off his face. Instead, she concentrated hard on not dropping the sword. She wouldn’t give him the satisfaction. She dared not try to maneuver it as he had.
“A male taught you?” He sounded surprised.
“Yes. Thirteen Earth years of training.” Taio laughed and shook his head in disbelief. “It’s not unusual on my planet,” she said. “A male can teach a female how to fight or even a female can teach a male.”
He laughed harder and shook his head. “There could never be such a thing on my world.”
She turned away. “I earned a black belt, first Dan in Kyokushin Karate. On Earth I’m considered to be a great fighter.”
“Your people did not fare well in the war against the Loconuist. The fighting techniques of your species mean nothing to me.” 
If the sword in her hands wasn’t so heavy, she would have swung it at him. 
“We didn’t know how to fight them. We’d never encountered aliens before.”
“Then it is good that I will take care of you from now on.”
Her head snapped around. “I don’t need you to take care of me.”
“You were captured by the Loconuist and the Tresdonians almost killed you.”
She shrugged. “But they didn’t.”
He smirked. “Because I saved you.”
“Thanks, but I can take care of myself.”
“It doesn’t matter. You are my responsibility now. You are my slave.”
Her eyes, squinting and cold, fixed on his. “Ship told me those assholes on that planet gave me to you. I think you got cheated. I’m not a slave. Not yours or anyone else’s.”
“If this arrangement does not suit you, I could turn the vessel around and give you back to the Tresdonians.” He turned from her and put the heavy sword back on the wall rack.
Her heart began pounding in her chest. He wouldn’t… “No. I’m not going back there.” She held her sword tightly in her grasp.
“Then you are my slave.” He stalked slowly toward her. His eyes locked on hers.
“No.” She backed away from him. 
This cannot happen. 
“You are mine.” He took another step toward her. “You will need to get used to the idea.”
He stopped his advancement. They stood facing each other. Her breathing came out in deep and heavy breaths. Her heart thumped in her chest.
Abruptly, he turned and walked from the room. She blinked at the empty doorway. The cold surface of the wall was against her back. She held the sword close to her chest, shielding her body. She stayed there until her arms shook from the sword’s weight.
She was no one’s slave.

Buy Links


Thursday, February 21, 2013


by Emily Kimelman


INSATIABLE is the third novel in my Sydney Rye Series of dark murder mysteries. This series feature a strong female protagonist and her canine best friend. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, don't mind dirty language, and are up for a dash of sex. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery!

INSATIABLE begins with private detective Sydney Rye living a simple, disciplined life in London, but when a dangerous man from her past calls, Rye finds she cannot turn him away. Robert Maxim explains that the daughter of a powerful friend has gone missing and he wants Rye to find her. In exchange he offers her something she had given up hope of ever having; freedom from her past.

With her dog, Blue, at her side, Rye meets up with her new partner, a handsome man she's not sure she can trust. Heading for Mexico City, they go undercover, posing as husband and wife. After meeting with the bereaved parents, Rye starts to sense that there is more going on than just a missing girl. But it isn't until they arrive in the Yucatan Peninsula, hot on the girl's trail in Paradise, that all hell breaks loose. Sydney has to reach out for help from old friends and deal with the consequences of her past, if she's going to find the girl and keep them all alive.


Excerpt One:
"What the fuck is that?" he asked.
"A dog," I answered, moving toward the only remaining chair at the table. Blue stayed on my heel.
The man put up his hands and knocked his chair over trying to back up. "I don't like dogs, and I don't like that."
I took my seat and Blue sat next to me. "He won't hurt you." The man reached behind him, opened a drawer and pulled out a hand gun, swinging it around to aim at Blue. His hand was shaking. I smiled at him. "It still surprises me that so many people are so afraid of dogs."
"I'll fucking shoot it."
"That seems unnecessary," I said. He didn't look like he was going to shoot Blue but with the tremor in his finger and the fear in his eyes, there was little I could be sure of. "How about I have him wait outside?"
"How about you just get the fuck out of my house?"
I stood up and reached into my purse. "Hey," he turned the gun on me.
"I'm just getting money," I said. I moved very slowly ignoring the muzzle of the gun trained on my face. I pulled out a bundle of cash and slowly placed it on the table. "You give me that gun, another that looks like it, and some bullets, I'll leave the money and your house," I said.
He looked down at the money and then at Blue, then his eyes reached my face. "I don't like doing business this way."
"Me either, man, but then again, I'm not the one who pulled out a gun and started threatening people's pets." I smiled at him and I could see him relax.

Author Bio and Links:
Emily Kimelman lives on a boat in the Hudson Valley with her husband, Sean and their dog Kinsey (named after Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone). Kimelman has a passion for traveling and spends as much time as possible in the pursuit of adventure.

Her Sydney Rye series feature a strong female protagonist and her canine best friend. It is recommended for the 18+ who enjoy some violence, don't mind dirty language, and are up for a dash of sex. Not to mention an awesome, rollicking good mystery!

Emily will be awarding a hand blown pint glass (see photo on right) that her husband (a third generation glassblower) made for the launch of her first novel, UNLEASHED, to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. 

Click the image below to follow the tour. The more stops you make and comment, the more chances you have to win. Good luck!!


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Spotlight on Samantha Towle

First Bitten
The Alexandra Jones Series Book 1
Samantha Towle

A love story with bite …...

Walking home after a night out drowning her sorrows with her best friend, Carrie, Alexandra Jones stupidly takes a phone call from her cheating ex-boyfriend, Eddie, and in her anger hurls her phone into the forest before her.

But when Alex goes to retrieve her phone from the undergrowth, she and Carrie come face-to-face with a monster they never even knew existed, a Vârcolac (a nightmarish vampire-werewolf hybrid) and he's in search of fresh blood. The next thing Alex knows, she is staring at the impossibly handsome but mysterious Nathan who has helped bring her back to life, but not to the life she left.

To her horror, she discovers she has now become a blood-drinking Vârcolac herself and she is the only female of her kind, with the potential for breeding a whole new army of Vârcolacs if they can only track her down and press her into service.

And while Alex gets to know Nathan and his shape-shifting family as they offer her the protection she so desperately needs, unbeknown to all of them, the Vârcolacs are getting closer …

First Bitten Excerpt
Chapter 1 
The End of Me 

“Arggh! Just leave me alone, Eddie! I can’t believe a word that comes out of your mouth! You’re a lying, cheating ... scumbag and I don’t ever want to speak to, or see you, ever again, you … you wanker!” I disconnect the call and angrily loft my mobile toward the mass of trees standing tall before me.
Turning sharply, I catch my heel in a crack in the paving. “Shit!” I cry out as I fall backwards, losing my shoe in the process. I land hard my bum. “Oww!”
“You alright?” Carrie gets up from the bench she was sitting on and drunkenly totters over to me. I can tell she’s trying not to laugh, the grin she’s not so gallantly suppressing saying it all.
“No,” I grumble. Tears sting my eyes. I take a deep breath and force them back.
I will not cry. I will not cry.
A giggle escapes Carrie as she plonks herself down on the concrete floor beside me.
I glare at her.
“Sorry, babe.” She throws her arm around my shoulder, hugging me to her. “Eddie is a complete twat. Twat with a capital T. And you, my gorgeous friend, are far too good for him, always have been. You deserve so much better than him.” She twists a lock of my hair around her finger, tugging on it good-naturedly. “You know I’m right. I’ve said this to you a million times before. You’re far too good to waste your life on a ... twatting wanker like him.”
Through my misery, I glance sideways at her. “Twatting wanker?”
She grins mischievously, her green eyes sparkling, and I can’t help but laugh. Carrie always manages to make me laugh, even when I’m at my lowest, which is where I am right now, literally.
I lean forward, releasing myself from Carrie’s caring hold and pick my shoe up. “Ahh no, I’ve scuffed the heel!” I groan as I inspect it. “My beautiful, two month old Jimmy Choos and they’re bloody ruined! These were my treat from my bonus.” That dismal feelings seeps back into me.
“Here, let me have a look.” Carrie takes the shoe from my hand and puts it close to her face, examining it. “It’s not that bad,” she says dismissively, handing it back to me. “It’ll glue back down.”
I turn and look at her with disgust. “Glue! I’m not gluing a pair of Jimmy Choos. Bloody hell, Carrie, that’s sacrilegious!” I clutch the shoe to my chest. “Arggh! This is all Eddie’s fault. I bloody hate him, the bastard!”
Well I don’t hate him, yet, but I will very soon, I’m sure of it. I’m just currently stuck in the ‘I should hate him’ phase, but struggling to because I still love him.
Eddie, my lying, cheating, scumbag, arsehole of a boyfriend, or, as I should now say, ex-boyfriend. Eddie, the cheating bastard, whom I’ve wasted three years of my life on.
That all too familiar pain stabs straight into my heart. Tears swell my eyes again. I run my fingers under them to catch the tears before they fall. The last thing I need right now is mascara-stained cheeks.
I found out about Eddie’s extra-curricular activities yesterday morning while we were eating breakfast together. I’d received a text from his slutty new squeeze the night before, but only realised I had a message that morning. Accompanying said text was a very graphic photo of Eddie in a ‘compromising’ position for added effect. Classy, I know. Really I should have learnt my lesson from the last time.
It will never happen again, Alex, I swear to you ... I love you ... I’m so sorry ... I can’t live without you ... I made a terrible, stupid mistake ...
But really it was me who made the mistake when I believed he wouldn’t do it again.
So, after chucking my breakfast at him, coffee included and a few other choice items, I headed to our bedroom, called Carrie and asked her to come and pick me up. I packed my bags, ignoring Eddie’s pathetic pleas for me to stay, while I waited the twenty minutes it took Carrie to drive from her parents’ house in Hackness, where she still lives, to my house in Scarborough.
When she arrived, honking her horn, I rushed out the front door in a flurry of tears, threw my bags in the car boot and didn’t look back, even though I knew Eddie was standing in the doorway watching me leave.
Carrie and I have been best friends for fifteen years. The first time I met her was on introductory day at our old senior school, Scarborough High, and I just knew I’d know her my whole life. She was all fiery red curly hair and braces, but as confident as hell. Smart, vivacious and sassy, she takes no shit, unlike me. She’s all the parts I’m missing, my other half really and that’s when I knew I’d met my soul mate. Carrie is always there for me, no matter what, and vice-versa.
Both my parents were killed in a road accident when I was sixteen, a drunk driver overtaking them on a country road with an upcoming bend, an oncoming car; there were no survivors.
I fell apart and Carrie put me back together. Legally an adult, I had absolutely no clue how to take care of myself, let alone do things adults have to take care of. That’s when Carrie’s family became mine. Her parents, Angie and Tom, stepped in and sorted everything for me. They took me into their huge home and spoilt me like I was one of their own, which now, nine years later, I still am.
Carrie’s been on hand with Kleenex and Ben and Jerry’s for all my boyfriend disasters, well mainly Eddie the boyfriend disaster from hell. She sat patiently with me yesterday while I cried the whole day and night away. Then, when I woke up this morning feeling very angry, Carrie suggested we should get dressed up and go out to the only pub in Hackness tonight, The Grange, and get drunk.
I was completely on board with the idea - anything to numb the pain - but then the pain was still there when they were calling last orders at the bar and I didn’t want to wait the forty minutes it would take for the taxi to arrive, so we decided to walk home, which we’ve done hundreds of times before. It takes about half an hour and, to be honest, it’s not the nicest of walks, even in the daylight. It’s all country roads and forests but it’s also as safe as houses around here. The last time there was a crime here was – well never.
All I wanted to do was get home as fast as possible and continue on drinking myself into oblivion, well, just until I passed out. And I was well on my way to achieving that goal until I, for some ungodly reason, made the fatal error of answering Eddie’s call. And here I am, right back to square one. I’ve let Eddie and his lies into my head again. This is what happens when I drink; I lose all common sense. Or is it just when it comes to Eddie that I lose my common sense?
I drop my heavy head into my hands. “I’m such an idiot, Care.”
“No you’re not. Eddie’s the idiot.” She rubs a soothing hand on my back. I glance up at her. “He just doesn’t seem to realise when he’s got a great thing,” she affirms. “The guy’s a loser. L-O-S-E-R.” She spells the word out for dramatic effect, putting her thumb and forefinger into the L shape and resting it against her forehead.
Yep, she’s definitely drunk – she’d never do that sober. I giggle through my haze of tears and make a mental note to remind her of that in the morning so I can take the piss.
“You were the best thing that ever happened to him,” she adds sincerely, taking hold of my hand and patting it with her other. “He’ll know this soon enough when you’re not there taking care of him anymore.”
I stare into the black dense forest before me. “Mmm … ”
She grabs hold of my shoulder, forcing me round to look at her. “Alex, please tell me you’re not actually considering going back to him. You know he’ll do it again.”
“No I’m not,” I say, sounding way too defensive.
“Alex … ” She arches her eyebrow at me in that knowing way she does. She knows me better than anyone.
“No,” I repeat, my voice quieter now, “I’m not going back. I promise. But it’s hard. I can’t just stop loving him in a day. We’ve been together for three years. We have a home together. Okay, so it’s his house and the mortgage is still in his name, but we have other stuff together, like … like ... CDs and DVDs ... and well, other stuff.”
Actually now that I think about it, after three years together we really don’t have a lot to show for our relationship, except for a lot of broken promises and betrayals.
“I know it’s hard, Alex, but Eddie didn’t care about the last three years when he was messing around behind your back. Just keep reminding yourself of what he’s done to you, twice, now. It’ll get easier, babe, I promise, and you know I’m here for you, no matter what. I’ve always got your back.”
“I know.” I look gratefully at her. “Ditto.”
“Anyway, I was thinking we should get my dad to sack him,” she says out of the blue, very nonchalantly.
Eddie works for Tom. He’s a sales manager at Tom’s car dealership in Scarborough. Tom has ten altogether across the region. That’s how I met Eddie. It was at the dealership's annual Christmas party three years ago. He was so handsome, smart and funny, and I was hooked from the word go. Little did I know.
I shake my head, tempting as it is, and say, “No, Care, we can’t ask Tom to do that. It’d be wrong to put him in that position.”
“He’d do it for you though.” She nudges my shoulder with hers. “You know he would. He loves you to death.”
I turn and give her a firm look. “I know, and that’s why I won’t ask him ... and neither will you.”
She grins wickedly and winks. “No promises.”
“Care … !” I warn.
“Okay, okay.” She rolls her eyes. “Whatever you want. Is twat-face Eddie at work tomorrow?”
I scrunch my nose up in thought. “What day is it?”
“Er … ” she pulls her mobile out of her bag and lights the screen up, checking the date and time, “it’s Saturday now.”
“He’s not back in work till Monday.”
“Okay, well I’ll go round to your house on Monday while he’s at work and pick up the rest of your stuff, if you want? Get you out of there and moved back home properly. Start as you mean to go on.”
“Would you mind?” I look hopefully at her. The last thing I want to do is go back to the house. I’m worried if I do, I might end up never leaving.
“Wouldn’t offer if I did.” She smiles warmly and gets to her feet. “Come on, let’s go home.” She holds her hand out to me.
I take a lingering, woeful glance at my shoe and slip it back on my foot. Eddie the bastard, he’s ruined my life, and now my beautiful shoes.
I take Carrie’s hand and get unsteadily to my feet. I wrap my arm around her waist, resting my head onto her shoulder. “Thanks, Care,” I mumble into her red hair. “I don’t know what I’d do without you. I love you, you know.”
“You’d do fine,” she says, “and I love you too. Now come on, you soppy git, let’s get you home.” She wraps her arm around my shoulder and we start to walk on, supporting each other.
“Ahh shit!” I sigh dramatically, coming to a halt.
“I chucked my phone in there.” I gesture dramatically toward the forest laid out to the side of us. “My whole life is on that phone,” I whine. “I can’t lose it.”
Bloody Eddie. He doesn’t even have to be here and he causes me problems. Maybe it’s the essence of him that’s still lingering over me, continuing to make my life shit.
I walk over to the edge of the pavement, teetering between it and the slope down into woodland.
“Whereabouts did you throw it?” Carrie asks, following me over and standing beside me.
“I dunno.” I shrug. “Around there ... somewhere.” I point at the bracken.
Carrie peers forward. “Well, it can’t have landed that far away. You’re not that good a thrower. I remember your weak arm from netball at school.” She nudges me with her shoulder, grinning. “Tell you what, I’ll ring your phone and we’ll follow the sound to it.”
“Good thinking Batman.” I nudge her back.
“Er, more like Catwoman, if you don’t mind,” she says dramatically, sweeping a hand down herself. “Does this body look in any way masculine to you?”
“Shut up and get your bloody phone out, will you.” I laugh.
She smirks and gets her mobile out of her bag again. It takes her a good minute to dial my number, which I know for a fact, she has on speed dial. She really is drunk.
“It’s ringing,” she sings, phone clamped to her ear.
I immediately hear my phone start to blast out Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’. I changed it to that ring tone yesterday. Okay, I know I’m being maudlin, but it’s not every day you find out your boyfriend’s been cheating on you. Well, okay, for me it’s the second time in a year, but that’s not the point.
Carrie pulls the phone away from her ear and leaves it ringing in her hand. Holding hands, we both clumsily make our way down the incline into the woods as we begin our search, following the sound of the music into the trees.
“I can’t see it anywhere,” Carrie says looking around. “Mind, I can hardly see shite-all in here. It's pitch black!”
I squint into the darkness. She’s right, it is pitch black. Nerves creep over me. I quickly quash them. I need to find my phone.
The ringing stops. It must have diverted to answerphone.
“Ring it again, Care, will you.”
Adele resumes her singing. I can hear it clear over to my right. Breaking away from Carrie, I head that way. The music’s getting louder. I’m getting close. A few more steps and I spot it nestled in a bush, flashing prettily away at me. Not a good thrower, eh, Carrie?
“Got it!” I cheer, staggering toward it. I lean down and pluck it out of the prickly bush. I snag my hand on a prickle. “Ouch!” I suck the wound on my hand and get an instant taste of metallic ... blood.
“You alright?” Carrie asks concerned, heading toward me.
“Yeah, fine. Just cut my hand on the bush. Nothing serious. Got my phone, though.” I grin, waving it about.
“Good. Now can we get out here?”
“Yep, let’s go.” I make to move and get nowhere. I’m stuck in some soft mud. “Bloody hell,” I grumble, looking down. “My heels are stuck in the mud.”
“You and them feckin’ shoes!” Carrie laughs loudly. It echoes all around. “Here.” She holds her hands out for me to take. “I’ll pull you out.”
I take hold of her hands. She starts to pull me forward while I try to wriggle my shoes free from the sticky mud. I get one free, step forward and suddenly the other comes free. I fall forward onto Carrie.
“Bloody hell!” she chuckles, somehow keeping us both up. I have no clue how she’s managing to stay vertical.
I glance down at my shoes. They’re all covered in mud. “Ahh crap!” I groan, lifting my feet up in turn. “I’ve knackered the heel and covered them in mud in the space of five minutes. I bloody love these shoes as well.” My lips turn down at the corners.
“Really, I would never have guessed,” she skits.
“Piss off,” I mutter in a light-hearted tone, but inside the gloom has clamped itself steadfastly around my heart.
She grins at me in the darkness and links her arm through mine. “We’ll clean them up when we get home.”
“I don’t think anything is gonna save these babies now, well nothing short of a miracle.”
“Come on, drama queen. We’ll pray for their salvation on the way home.”
“Ha, ha, funny! You ever thought about becoming a comedi–”
“Wait.” She grips hold of my arm with her fingers. “Did you hear that?”
“What, the sound of my heart breaking for the second time in two days?” I glance down longingly at my ruined shoes.
“No ... that.”
I strain to listen. “I can’t hear anything.” Now I think about it, it’s actually eerily silent in here. No rustling leaves, no animal sounds. Nothing.
I start to move, but Carrie stays put, pulling me back to a standstill. “No seriously,” she whispers, “I definitely heard something ... it was like, I dunno, like ... someone’s chopping wood or something.”
“Shurrup, Carrie, you div,” I say at normal volume, laughing. “Who the hell would be out here at this time chopping … ?” Then I hear it. It’s not loud but Carrie’s wrong, it doesn’t sound like wood being chopped, it sounds more like something’s being sharpened on wood, kind of like when our cat used to run its claws down the doorframe.
“You hear it,” she whispers.
“Yes,” I breathe out. The hairs on the back of my neck prickle. I hear movement behind me. My stomach drops hollow. Swallowing hard, I loosen my arm from Carrie’s grip and we both, very slowly, turn around.
It’s standing about ten feet away. Its yellow eyes are protruding like beacons in the dark night, and they’re fixed onto me.
It’s obvious why it’s here. You would think I would have tried to make a run for it by now or screamed, or done something. I don’t know why I haven’t. All I do know is I can’t seem to tear my eyes away from its penetrating stare. It tilts its head, almost as if contemplating me, chilling me to the bone.
Then I feel Carrie’s hand search for mine. She grabs hold, interlocking our fingers. I can feel her fear almost like it’s pouring out of her skin and sinking straight into mine. A silent communication passes between us, and in the same instant we both turn and run.
I don’t get far.
I’m hit in the back. The air is knocked out of me. I’m going down. I’m pinned to the floor. I can’t move. My face is pressed into the mud. I can’t catch a breath. I’m suffocating. I feel a searing pain tear down my right side. I cry out but no sound comes. I manage to move my head slightly. I get a glimpse of Carrie’s red hair. The pain intensifies. I feel like I’m being ripped open...
The last thing I hear is screaming. An ear-piercing scream. And I can’t tell if it’s coming from Carrie or me. 


About Samantha:
Samantha Towle lives in Yorkshire with her husband Craig, children Riley and Isabella, dog Max and cat Murphy.

The youngest of four daughters, she loves music - all music - and dreams of a day when …. now that's another story.