Read an Excerpt:
The first djinn emerged in the night sky: a whirlwind topped with a simulacrum of Khalid himself. Knife-sharp grains of sand spun upward, pulled by the centrifugal force of the air that formed the construct’s lower half. Khalid swallowed down bile as he looked at his creation. The djinn’s outstretched arms were frozen in a gesture of welcome, but its unblinking eyes were indifferent to the suffering it was about to cause.
If only he could create a living construct, he wouldn’t be forced to watch oversized statues of himself wreaking destruction. Before Sabha, he used to revel in the fact that his enemy would know he had been the mage who had killed them. Now, the sight of his giant face in the sky made him sick.
Two more djinni coalesced, dragging roiling storms of colored lightning behind them like fringed capes. Malik shut the spellbook, words of congratulations on his lips. But his face fell, his compliments silenced before they could be uttered. Khalid’s heart rate sped up as he followed his vizier’s gaze.
The three djinni should have been flying north over the dunes to the enemy encampment, spinning tornados of wind and lightning beneath them. Instead, the constructs hung suspended in midair, their lower whirlwinds frozen into a stillness as eerie as their unmoving humanoid tops.
A rush of air rippled Khalid’s headscarf and robe, but the desert was suddenly silent. He could no longer hear the rasp of wind over sand.
Eurus, Khalid realized, his grim fear sinking into actual dread.
The glimmering white-gold outline of a woman’s face emerged in front of the djinni.
Khalid swallowed as she pressed her lips against one statue-like face before dissipating back into air.
Khalid waved Malik back to the assembled guard. “Go,” he said. “Back to camp.”
But Malik pressed shoulder-to-shoulder with him. “No one can contend against the air itself, Amir. It won’t matter if we stay or go.”
That’s an unfortunate truth, Khalid thought. For all they knew, Eurus existed within the very air they drew into their lungs. She was everywhere but only rarely took physical form.
Humans, even other faeries, were typically beneath her notice.
“Your djinni still don’t live.”
The East Wind’s soft voice was impossible to locate, though they all spun around to look for her. Eurus was air, an elemental faerie born billions of years ago when the Earth’s atmosphere formed.
“Why are you here?” Khalid called, his voice overly loud in the stillness.
Eurus, as the East Wind liked to be called, manifested into a shadowed figure floating cross-legged as if atop a flying carpet. But of course, Eurus didn’t need any support to defeat gravity.
Khalid’s face covering blew off, and he caught the red headcloth before responding.
“You told me war didn’t interest you anymore.”
“Your djinni interest me.” The elemental faerie’s voice hovered in the air around him, pressing against him like the atmospheric warning of an approaching sandstorm.
“I’m no via-enchanter to cast spells on living things, Lady Eurus,” Khalid reminded her.
The fae demanded honesty, and he’d told her this many times already. “I don’t know how to make a djinn draw breath.”
“You were working hard to modify your spells,” Eurus said. “At least until your sisters convinced you to claim the Sahara for your al-Saaqib tribe.”
“I have a duty to protect the desert’s people. I can’t play with spell designs while we remain under threat,” Khalid said — then cursed himself when he realized he’d given her an opening.
She pounced. “I am more dangerous than five thousand battlemages. Bargain with me. I can steal your enemies’ breath. Blow their ships back from your shores. I can keep your lands safe from the predators while you perfect your djinn spells.”
“I’m no via-enchanter, Lady Eurus,” Khalid repeated. “I spent decades and only managed to integrate biomarkers into the design.”
His gaze flickered up. Six vacant eyes that matched his own stared down at him in impotent stillness. Eurus’s magick held his unreleased djinni captive. He needed her to let them fly. Let Khalid kill his enemy.
“You see how well I can keep you safe,” Eurus said, glancing upward as well. “Even from your own spells.”
Khalid hated how tempting her offer was now. Everyone else had perished at Sabha. It had been a Pyrrhic victory, but a victory nonetheless. If she didn’t release his djinni, this battle would end in an actual defeat.
There was nothing worse than defeat.
“Do not surrender, Al-Amir,” Malik whispered. “With or without the djinni, we will prevail!”
“Surrender? Who said anything about surrender? I’ll be your hired hand, Amir Khalid ibn Hawwa al-Saaqib!” Eurus’s voice hung slyly in the air as she fluttered down into a full bow, her thin frame splayed across the sand before him.
Khalid stared down at the elemental faerie. No sane person made a bargain with a faerie, but then, no sane faerie stalked a human.
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Monday, December 11, 2023
Sniffing Out Murder (A Bailey the Bloodhound Mystery) by Kallie E. Benjamin
About Sniffing Out Murder:
Sniffing Out Murder (A Bailey the Bloodhound Mystery)
1st in Series
Setting - Indiana
Berkley (December 5, 2023)
Paperback : 352 pages
ISBN-10 : 0593547357
ISBN-13 : 978-0593547359
Digital ASIN : B0BXKHGG75
When a murder unleashes a widespread investigation through Crosbyville, children’s book author Pris and her trusty bloodhound, Bailey, must sniff out the truth before the whole town goes to the dogs.
After deciding that life as a teacher wasn’t right for her, Priscilla found inspiration for her first children’s book in her three-year-old bloodhound’s nose for truth, and so The Adventures of Bailey the Bloodhound was born. After the book’s massively pawsitive response led Pris to move back to her hometown of Crosbyville, Indiana, to continue the series, she’s surprised by how things have changed in the town, but even more so how they haven’t.
Pris is frustrated to discover that newly elected school board trustee Whitney Kelley—a former high school mean girl—is intent on making Crosbyville more competitive by eliminating “frivolous spending” on the arts and social programs, including Pris and Bailey’s beloved pet-assisted reading program. A minor altercation between them isn’t anything unusual, but after Bailey sniffs out Whitney’s body in a bed of begonias, locals start hounding Pris and Bailey as suspects for the crime.
With Bailey’s sharp senses and Pris’s hometown know-how, can they prove to the community that they’re all barking up the wrong tree?
About Kallie E. Benjamin:
Kallie E. Benjamin (Valerie Burns) is the author of the Bailey the Bloodhound Mystery series. The first book, Sniffing Out Murder releases on December 5, 2023. Valerie is an Agatha, Anthony, Edgar, and Next Generation Indie Book Award finalist. Writing as V. M. Burns she is the author of the Mystery Bookshop Mystery, Dog Club Mystery, and RJ Franklin Mystery series. Writing as Valerie Burns, she is the author of the Baker Street Mystery series. Valerie is also an adjunct professor in the Writing Popular Fiction Program at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. Born and raised in northwestern Indiana, Valerie now lives in Northern Georgia with her two poodles.Author Links:
Sunday, December 10, 2023
Book Tour Schedule ~ Deluge by Mike Dubisch and Carolyn Watson-Dubisch - YA Graphic Novel (December 11-15, 2023) @CarolynWDubisch
Sapphyria's Book Promotions presents the 1-Week Virtual Book Tour for Deluge by Mike Dubisch and Carolyn Watson-Dubisch - YA Graphic Novel (December 11-15, 2023)
12 year old Laura was just a normal girl from Seattle when her mother decided to move to a mysterious town in the midwest. The moment they arrive in their new home hundreds of frogs rain from the sky. Her quirky new neighbor has a house full of knick knacks and odd tiny creatures beckoning from the shadows, and there's a terrible curse on the town that makes every summer storm a life threatening event. Welcome to the town of Deluge.
Genres: YA Graphic Novel
Page Count: 50
Tour Schedule:December 11
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About Whisky Hernandez:
Setting - Martinique
Independently Published (November 25, 2022)
Hardcover : 269 pages
ISBN-13 : 979-8364720542
Paperback : 269 pages
ISBN-13 : 979-8360529972
Martinique. Memories. Murder.
A mystery is abound and the government has called in by special invitation the world’s greatest detective by study and trade, Whisky Hernandez, to help and assist the local police and solve the case fast, making use of her language proficiency in French and Creole. Full-time hygienist and part-time sleuth, this licensed private investigator, daughter of a talented New York and New Jersey former police detective, utilizes the help of her humorous photographer partner to get to the bottom of the mystery that is revealing itself on this island of flowers.
These honest and generous partners of crime-solving are experienced members in obtaining the proof they need to arrive at and protect the truth. Keeping her anxieties and panic attacks in check with the help of her service animal, Whisky is determined to dive into a variety of guilty-looking suspects, analyzing, scrutinizing, and, outsmarting all the ways the villain, the killer, is trying to get away with the clever crime.
Secret undercover work, hidden riddles, challenging puzzles, unique perilous and dangerous situations are all up against Whisky. But along with some banter and comic relief situations with her sidekick partner, our worthy and reliable hero will lead the way and do what it takes to get the job done. With twists, turns, swerves, and contorts, this resolute private investigator plunges into the depths of Martinique, coming up for air in an unforgettable ending.
About J. S. Mason:
J.S. Mason is an author of four short story collections and one cozy mystery and has the distinct honor of graduating pre-school, elementary school, middle school, high school, college, and law school, receiving a diploma from each of the aforementioned education establishments.
Aside from their outstanding excellence within the field of academia, J.S. Mason has quite the records in the athletics department, hitting one triple, bowling one turkey, and scoring three hole-in-ones in a single miniature golf game.
Extending to the performing arts, J.S. Mason has played a sheriff with a past, a pushy prosecuting attorney, and literally a spear carrier, only to hang up their boots/tie/spear because there was too much drama.
Other noteworthy accomplishments of J.S. Mason are that they have a first, middle, and last name.
Impressively, with a background in law enforcement and trial litigation, J.S. Mason always manages to have their shoes tied when they aren't wearing Velcro.
J.S. Mason is most proud that they are referred to in the third person on their bio, as this is always how they refer to themselves.
J.S. Mason is happy with this.
J.S. Mason is satisfied with this.
J.S. Mason is excited to provide more high quality books to their audience and hopes they consume them with the utmost pleasure.
For clarity, in response to what some of their reviewers have said, they are correct - J.S. Mason is in fact an honorary A.I. module from M.I.T.
J.S. Mason hopes for you to have a good day and get through it because it can be hard sometimes.
J.S. Mason looks forward to giving you the experience you deserve.Author Links:
Saturday, December 9, 2023
Lex and Lucy, Dream Warriors! by Alessio Conforzi ~ @RABTBookTours #RABTBookTours #LexandLucyDreamWarriors #AlessioConforzi #Fantasy
Lex and Lucy, Dream Warriors!
by Alessio Conforzi
Juvenile Fiction / Fantasy
Date Published: October 12, 2023
Illustrator: Talia Bingham
Lex and Lucy dream of adventure. When their dream comes true, they get much more than they bargained for! The twins are sent on a quest, where they have to face their fears and work together. They also learn not to judge people or creatures on their first appearance. As they discover, not everyone in Dreamland is quite as they seem. Lucy and Lex may only be novice Dream Warriors, but when they finally meet the Welkies, they have to stay strong to defeat them.
About the Author:
My Name is Alessio Conforzi, I am an Italian passport holder but have spent the entirety of my life in Malawi, Africa. I am 24 years old and in 2022 I graduated from Stellenbosch University with a diploma in Sustainable Development. I have always been passionate about wildlife and realized my creative storytelling tendencies at the age of 14 when I would write fictional stories about the African wilderness.
Friday, December 8, 2023
Release Blitz ~ Heart Stealer by Melody Wiklund ~ @MelodyWiklund @RABTBookTours #RABTBookTours #HeartStealer #MelodyWiklund #Fantasy
Heart Stealer by Melody Wiklund
Date Published: 12-08-2023
Without a heart, death and love are equally impossible.
James's heart has been stolen. He knows because he got stabbed in the chest and didn't even bleed. On the plus side, he isn't dead! On the minus side, whoever has his heart can control him, and until he gets the heart back, he is incapable of feeling love for anyone but the thief. Whoever that may be.
He has to get the heart back, and quickly. But with an assassin in the mix, and a vengeful ex-lover, and a suspicious fiancée, and no idea who to trust or where to look, the task won't be easy. Especially when, with a stolen heart, he can't even really trust himself.
About the Author:
Melody Wiklund is a writer of fantasy and occasionally romance. In her free time, she loves knitting and watching Chinese dramas. And she’s never summoned a spirit or an assassin… or at least so she claims.
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Thursday, December 7, 2023
by Sarah Dressler
About the Book:
With only three weeks left in December, travel
editor, America Greene, arrives in the idyllic Christmas Cove to find it...
America needs a story, and fast, so she teams up with the town’s good-looking (and eligible) mayor, Leo, to light up Main Street and salvage her chance at being a full-time writer. The connection between them heats up, halls are decked, sleigh bells ring, and lights twinkle. Just when she thinks the holiday is saved, a nearby city threatens the future of Christmas Cove. With her heart, and career, hanging in the balance, she must learn that Christmas is much more than just a place on a map before time runs out.
Christmas Cove is a fun small town holiday romance. Perfect for this time of year (or anytime, actually) and if you aren't in the holiday spirit before you read this book, you will be by its conclusion.
I loved the setting and how America landed in Christmas Cove. The characters are fun and well-developed. The author painted a vivid picture of Christmas Cove, its characters, and all of the charm a small town offers.
The chemistry between America and Leo sizzles and I love their interactions. The synopsis captured my attention but the author's writing style, characters, romantic arc, and love for the story kept me engaged. I enjoyed Christmas Cove and look forward to more from Sarah Dressler.
Read an Excerpt:
Leo watched as America’s eyes lit up. The space was a winter wonderland, complete with dozens of flocked and lit trees. Soft glowing faux candles dotted the room, a live band played at one end, and there was more punch and hot cocoa than one could drink.
“This is beautiful,” America said as she took in the atmosphere.
“You’re beautiful,” he whispered. Though he couldn’t see if she heard him, her shoulder moved ever so slightly as though she did. “Is this the Christmas you were hoping for?”
“Close,” she said and took a turn around him while delighting in the moment.
America looked like the queen of the ball as they walked to the center of the space, and pride swelled inside Leo that she was on his arm. The crowd hushed and, as though they were witnessing something special, cleared room on the dancefloor.
Though they didn’t know who she was, her confident and relaxed posture commanded attention from everyone in the room. She sent Leo a knowing side glance as he twirled her around before catching her in his arm.
He took her left hand in his and her waist in his right. The room stood still in the breath just before the music began. A Christmas waltz. Leo knew this one well. He took her through the steps, and she followed his lead like a pro.
As the music swelled and diminished to a close, he captured her gaze. She radiated happiness.
“Where did you learn to dance like that?” America said breathlessly.
America whacked him in the belly as she laughed. “You did not!”
He liked teasing her. “Of course, I didn’t. My Aunt June insisted on weekly cotillion classes.”
“You surprise me.”
“I try,” Leo said and held her close.
Her arms draped over his shoulders and her head rested near his neck. “Thank you,” she whispered. “This is exactly what I imagined before I came here.”
“You imagined dancing with a dashing, yet approachable public servant in a snow-themed pavilion with a hundred eyes trained on you while your favorite song is played by a live band, while wearing a stunning gown and falling madly in—”
Meet the Author:
Sarah Dressler, originally from Florida, now calls the mountains of Colorado home. Beginning her writing career as an award winning fashion blogger, Sarah now writes fiction full time. She has spent her life traveling the world, first as the daughter of a US Air Force officer, and later as a military spouse. She enjoys sunset walks with her husband of nearly twenty years, and raising two very busy teenagers.
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/christmas-cove-sarah-dressler/
INSTAGRAM AUTHOR PAGE: instagram.com/thesarahdressler,
Sarah Dressler will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Book Blitz ~ The Invisible Red String by Ann Zachariah and Peter Berlin ~ @RABTBookTours #RABTBookTours #TheInvisibleRedString #AnnZachariah #PeterBerlin #Drama
A love story that transcends time, place, and circumstance.
The Invisible Red String
by Ann Zachariah and Peter Berlin
Date Published: November 7, 2023
Love knows no boundaries; it's written in the threads of destiny….
"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break." – Chinese Proverb
The Invisible Red String is a soulful odyssey where an invisible red thread of destiny weaves a tapestry of love, growth, and transformation across continents.
Join four extraordinary souls as their lives intertwine in the most unexpected of ways, transcending the barriers of race and culture to create profound and meaningful connections.
John, an advertising executive, carries the scars of a turbulent past, a product of the foster care system, now striving to provide a loving home for his son, who has Down syndrome. When his supermodel wife abandons him, he finds himself at a crossroads, searching for healing and redemption.
Anna, hailing from a conservative background in Kerala, India, knows the pain of forced arranged marriages and the depths of physical abuse. As a divorcee, she's determined to break free from her past and discover her own path to happiness.
Jake, a successful cardiologist, appears superficial on the surface, but beneath his polished exterior lies a longing for something deeper. He embarks on a journey of self-discovery, encountering a love that transcends time and space.
Lilly, a young African woman who once endured the cruelty of corporal punishment, arrives in a foreign land to pursue her education, with no family to guide her. She finds unexpected solace in the warm embrace of a gay couple who become her chosen family.
As these four souls converge at Soul Haven, a place where personal stories are shared, and meaningful bonds are forged, they embark on a remarkable journey of growth and transformation. Through profound experiences, they confront their traumas, explore unconventional therapies like past life regression and shadow work, and break down the barriers of race and culture.
Anna and John's love story emerges as a beacon of hope, proving that love can heal even the deepest wounds. Jake and Maya's connection transcends the physical realm, leading Jake on a quest to understand the depths of his own soul.
The Invisible Red String is a spiritual love story that delves into complex concepts of abuse, trauma, and therapy, offering a glimpse into the power of human connection and the unbreakable threads of destiny that bind us all.
Get your copy today and experience a love story that will touch your heart, challenge your perceptions, and leave you believing in the power of destiny and human connection.
About the Author:
Ann Zachariah, M.D. is a renowned psychiatrist, educator, clinician, and author based in Houston, Texas.
Mr. Peter Berlin is a publicist and author and lives in LA, California.
Book Blitz ~ 48 Laws of Hustling by Ricky St. Julien ~ @RABTBookTours #RABTBookTours #FourtyEightLawsofHustling #RickyStJulienII #Business
Don't Be A Statistic
48 Laws of Hustling
by Ricky St. Julien
Self Help Business
Date Published: January 2018
Don't be a statistic; be a success story!
48 Laws of Hustling: Don't Be A Statistic is a self-help business book about many young men who fall victim to the siren song of the streets, often glamourized through music videos and movies. The secrets of the streets can propel you to success in any entrepreneurial endeavor you undertake, even in corporate America and as a working class citizen. Ricky St. Julien, formerly known as the rapper Silk G. pulls back the covers of the game or hustling as it is widely known, in an effort to keep forthcoming generations from becoming a statistic.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics an article in the January, 2014 Huff Post Black Voices, “One in every three black males born today can expect to go to prison at some point in their life, compared with one in every six Latino males, and one in every 17 white males if current incarceration trends continue.”
Many of these young men fall victim to the siren song of the streets…Often glamorized through music videos and movies. The truth is, the streets have rules, and the failure to make it big in the game-whatever that game may be is directly tied to the failure to learn, understand, and maintain the rules.
In 48 Laws of Hustling, St. Julien, who has spent time as a guest in the prison system, pulls back the covers of the game, or hustling as it is widely known in an effort to keep forthcoming generations from becoming a statistic.
Are you ready to break free from the streets and create your path to success?
Get your copy today and discover the secrets that can transform your life, whether you're an aspiring entrepreneur, a corporate professional, or someone striving for a better future.
Some of the author's favorite quotes:
“You have to learn the rules of the game and then you have to play better than anyone else.” -Albert Einstein
“If you’re prepared, and you know what it takes, it’s not a risk. You just have to figure out how to get there. There is always a way to get there.” -Mark Cuban
“An expert is an ordinary man away from home giving advice“ -Oscar Wilde
“My hustle is nonstop. I never stop hustling.”-Young Jeezy
About the Author:
Ricky St. Julien II, is a prolific writer who is “arguably” known as the best urban fiction author of street literature coming from the south. He has been featured in magazines such as Don Diva, Mink Magazine, PLN, Street Consequences and many others mainly known for his self help book 48 Laws of Hustling-Don’t Be A Statistic; As well as The 48 Laws of Hustling workbook for young adults on the path to entrepreneurship. Creating children’s books are another one of Ricky’s passions.
However, many readers gravitate towards his fiction novels and novellas that are popular for being extremely close to the realities of American ghettos. When he is not working on his next book, spending time with family or mentoring the youth, he’s usually working as an Online Fitness Enthusiast while residing in Houston,Tx.
Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Homecoming Chaos by D.W. Brooks ~ Contemporary Romance, #Romance, Romantic Suspense, #Suspense @lifethereboot @XpressoTours
Publication date: November 21st 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Suspense
Jamie Scott’s life fell apart four years ago when she broke off her engagement, turned down a dream job, and went overseas to run away from her life. Now she’s back, but the reunion is not without problems. She arrives home just in time to attend the soiree her mother planned, but she’s not prepared for what she finds—a dead employee in the parking lot.
Detective Nick Marshall is assigned to the murder case at the forensics lab owned by Jamie’s family. He meets the headstrong Jamie, but he has a job to do. And his attraction to her… well, he’s a professional.
Jamie knows the stakes are high. She has to face the past and save her parents’ business while dealing with her family drama and an uncertain future. She also has to deal with Nick, who wants her out of the way of his investigation. But fate keeps throwing them in one another’s paths… and into chaos that they both want to avoid, but neither can seem to escape.
Add to Goodreads
Read an Excerpt:
Jamie strolled to the wide and stately staircase that led upstairs. The glossy wooden banister had always been a temptation to the teenaged Scott siblings.
During Jamie’s holiday visits home, there had been several banister races—one ending with Jillian needing stitches. The three swore to take the reason to the grave. Their mother would have killed them herself!
The house itself had changed little. Her mom had done some minimal redecorating, but the basic décor—classic contemporary—remained the same. As she reached the top step, she could see her brother heading out the front door to gather her bags. To her left was the “girls” wing, and to her right was Jon’s room and the guest rooms. Her parents bought this house while she was in New York, so she had never lived here full time, only during the holidays. Still, she had some fabulous memories from those times. It was nice to be home again.
The first door to the left was the room assigned to her. Jamie entered the simply appointed room decorated in blue, white, and seafoam green. The attached bathroom incorporated blue and white colors. Jamie sat on the edge of the bed and looked around the room. Since she never lived here, the room didn’t hold many personal touches, as did Jon’s and Jillian’s rooms. There were plenty of pillows, a complete set of cherry wood bedroom furniture, and a mid- sized flat-screen TV above the chest of drawers. It represented a fitting guest room since she was now a guest—a nervous guest at that. What if her mother verbally eviscerated her again? Could she deal? Jamie realized she was delaying her meeting with her mom for as long as possible. What else could she do to kill time?
She peeked in the closet to see if she had left any clothes behind from four years ago. Unfortunately, she found nothing that would be appropriate for what would be a formal event on Sunday night.
She went into the bathroom and removed her baseball cap to inspect the state of her hair in the mirror. I was fine for a quiet home visit, but not for a dressy affair. Jamie had let her relaxer grow out while she was out of the country. She typically flat-twisted her natural hair to emphasize the wave pattern. Before this trip, she had only washed, conditioned, and air-dried her hair, thinking that she would have some time after her arrival to moisturize and comb it. Now, it was just squashed down by her hat. Ugh. Since she wouldn’t be able to prep before talking to her mother, she would have to atone by looking her best for the party. For such a formal affair, she would have to visit a salon for a trim and style.
There was a knock on the bedroom door. “Come in!” Jamie yelled as she tucked her cap back onto her head and came out of the bathroom. Jon placed her bags inside her door. “Mother is waiting for you downstairs. I’m going to my room to avoid the tearful reunion.” He didn’t live there anymore but still called his childhood room “his room”.
Jamie sighed. Time to woman up. “OK. Let me wash my face, and I’ll be down. Where is she, exactly?” she inquired.
“Still in the study. Good luck.” He went down the hall.
Jamie dug around in her duffel bag and found her makeup bag. It contained the bare minimum of cosmetics. She returned to her bathroom, washed her face, and added mascara and a touch of mauve lip gloss. Jamie checked herself. Not too bad for a woman that had spent the last 24 hours on a plane or in an airport. Before she lost her nerve, she pushed herself out of the room and down the stairs, where she came face-to-face with her younger sister, Jillian, with two of her sons. Jillian was shorter than Jamie but had the same facial shape and skin color. You could tell they were sisters. Jillian stopped short.
“PJ! I didn’t know you were here. Give me a hug!” she joyously stretched out her arms. Quickly, she embraced Jamie while the 3-year-old and 1-year-old boys clung to her legs. The boys had never seen Jamie before because they were born while she was away. “You look sensational. Africa was good for you!” Jillian complimented.
“You look magnificent as well. I see you’re still calling me PJ.”
Perfect Jamie. Jillian smirked. “Well, it still fits, huh?”
Jamie ignored the snide comment and turned to her nephews. “Who are these little men? And where are the others?” Jamie stooped to their eye level.
Jillian stooped as well and disengaged the arms of the smallest boy. “This is Aaron.” Aaron hid his head on his mother’s shoulder. The other boy had moved behind his mother and peeked out from around her back. “This one behind me is Jacob. He’s three. Jacob, this is your Aunt Jamie. Go on, hug her.”
Jacob obediently came out and walked up to his aunt. “Hello,” he started. “Do you want to play with me?”
“Sure, Jacob. What do you want to play?” Jamie asked, smiling.
“Gamma plays Candy Land with me on the computer. Do you want to play, too?”
“I would love to, Jacob. You’re such a handsome and sweet young man. Do you help your momma take care of your brothers?”
“I help with Aaron. Ricky and Anthony don’t need help. They’re bigger than me,” he snickered. “You’re funny, Aunt ‘Amie. Where’s Gamma Scott? Let me get the game.” Jacob took off running, yelling, “Gamma! Gamma!”
Both Jamie and Jillian stood up, Jillian lifting Aaron onto her hip. Jamie marveled at how fit her younger sister was after giving birth to four children–-she hoped to have gotten that gene. “Rick and Anthony are at music lessons, so I dropped in with the boys to see Mother and Dad. Richard has been out of town for a case, but he’s returning today. I wish you had told me you were coming. We could have planned a dinner or something.”
“Jonathan knew. I’m surprised he didn’t tell you. I don’t need a fancy dinner because I’m coming home. Besides, there will be an epic to-do soon enough. How long has this been in the works?”
“Actually, not very long. We were going to take her out for dinner, but about ten days ago, she decided she wanted a large party. So, it’s been hectic.” She moved to the side to avoid two workers carrying a table. “It’s a cool coincidence that you will be here for it.”
“I don’t know if it was a coincidence.” Jamie winked at her sister and touched her nephew’s nose. Jamie had spoken to Jonathan almost two weeks ago and told him she was coming home. Coincidence, my ass. Jon had a lot to answer for. He must have blabbed to their mother that she was coming, and Margaret turned this into a gathering, a celebration of sorts. Perhaps this reunion would not be as miserable as she expected.
Jillian frowned. “So, Jon knew you were coming? And Mother did, too? So that’s what caused the change in plans.” No one had told her, and after four years away, Jamie still had a party. Perfect Jamie, indeed.
Oblivious to her sister’s change in mood, Jamie considered her options. “I guess I need to find Mother. By the way, Jon’s upstairs in his room.”
“You haven’t seen her yet? Oh, my. That should be interesting.” Jillian gave Jamie a sidelong glance. “I think I’ll take Aaron to see Jon. Good luck!” She and her son went up the stairs.
Jamie took a deep breath and headed toward the study. Damn, everyone keeps wishing me luck. I hope it’s not a bad sign.
Meet the Author:
Author, Physician, and Kidney Transplant Survivor
Becoming an author was an early dream of mine but was pushed aside by practical considerations. A health crisis awakened the desire to write again. And with the ability to self-publish, I could see a path to getting my stories out of my head and into books that others could enjoy.
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