Sunday, June 25, 2017

Book Tour "The Watcher" by Eli Carros



About the Book
Title: The Watcher
Author: Eli Carros
Genre: Crime Thriller
One man must stop a psychopath in his tracks…
Chief Inspector Jack Grayson is hunting a serial killer terrorizing London, a stalker who watches his prey carefully and displays the bodies of his young female victims brazenly. But Grayson has a problem – only one lead and scant evidence – and the body count is rising.
He discovers that an unsolved 18-year-old murder case bears all the hallmarks of the current killings, but he still can’t seem to find a single, obvious suspect, and he is so far unable to outthink a master predator. 
Grayson must catch a hunter who knows how to outwit the police – a showman intent on completing his macabre collection. But he’s missing a vital clue, a critical piece of the puzzle.  When he finally discovers the killer's identity, he's completely unprepared for the fallout…


Author Bio
I'm a crime fiction and thriller author from London, England and my debut novel, The Watcher, was inspired by London, and by what can happen when sexual obsession, violence, emotional neglect, and madness collide.  It takes you behind the eyes of a murderous stalker with a secret past, and into the mind of the harried detective who must stop a master predator before he kills again.

I'm a trained journalist, and interned at The Daily Mirror before becoming copywriter and then a crime novelist.  I've always loved reading crime, thrillers, and mystery suspense, and am an ardent admirer of authors Steven King, Mark Billingham, Harlan Coben, and Patricia Cornwell.

I'm naturally a strong supporter of causes that promote equality for all.  In my spare time I love sailing, camping, hiking, and sketching faces, and detest getting up in the morning without several cups of strong percolated coffee.

Links

Book Excerpts
Excerpt One

She didn’t know he was about to kill her of course. He stepped soundlessly behind the blonde, between chrome-coated elevator doors, his shoes gliding over polished grey marble. As she turned to the control panel to select her destination with a well-manicured fingernail, he craned his neck forward to inhale her scent. The sweet musky aroma curled around his nostrils pleasantly. It was familiar to him. It reminded him of her. Anya.
She stood waiting as the doors closed with a quiet hiss and the elevator started to descend. He glanced over her, taking in her elegant profile, her smooth alabaster skin, observing the details of her; breasts round and full, encased in a white shirt half a size too small and straining at the buttons, begging to be released. He noted the way her hair piled upon the top of her head, loose tendrils of spun gold escaping and caressing a slim neck. A hair pin edging its way out of the bun, aching to be plucked.
It’s an abomination, unnatural. His mother’s voice in his head again. Would she never shut up?
Fingering the knife in his pocket as the elevator descended, he felt the sharp edge grate the pad of his finger. He clenched his fists, feeling the rage building inside him. How dare this girl taunt him so? The calm of the Brahms sonata being piped through to the elevator’s occupants came in sharp contrast to his raggedly spiking mood. The feeling, rising within him, was irrepressible. The urgency to possess her climbed rapidly, like his blood pressure.
Unaware of his watchfulness, she fumbled around in the depths of her handbag, trying to locate something. The tilt of her lovely face tipped downwards in profile, making him catch his breath. Boldly he stepped forward, pulling the blade out of his pocket and placing one arm around her throat as he came up behind her, restraining her tightly against him. He didn’t hesitate as he drew the blade deftly across the thin skin of her throat, slicing her neck.
The blood spurted violently as the blade bit into her jugular vein, spraying the shiny, mirrored walls. The piped sonata seemed to be slowing down and he felt as if the world had momentarily stopped. Blanched, devoid of colour. The only bright spots – the only things that existed at all – were her and him, and they existed in a lurid blur of light. He held her there, his head bent over her tumble of blonde hair, as she struggled pathetically in his arms, her body weakening with every kick.

He watched as she gasped her last, her mouth opening obscenely, as her fingers scratched at empty air. Drinking her in, he tried to memorise every atom of her, as her body became deadweight in his arms. Finally, in that last second, he felt the serenity that inevitably washed over him each time. A feeling of satisfaction. Of completion. Peace.

book blitz for All That Glitters by Tracy Krimmer!

All That Glitters banner


This is my stop during the book blitz for All That Glitters by Tracy Krimmer. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 19 till 25 June. See the tour schedule here.



All That GlittersAll That Glitters (All That #1)

By Tracy Krimmer

Genre: Contemporary Romance / Women’s Fiction

Age category: Adult

Release Date: summer 2017



Blurb:

Country-music star, Dory Walker, never wanted to come back to the small town of Sycamore Bay. But after her fairy-tale life is flipped upside down, and her marriage becomes a casualty, she has no choice.



Harris Malone is a man with few commitments. He keeps a low profile most days while he cares for his young daughter and helps run his dad’s hardware store.



But when he and Dory run into each other at the local gas station, all either can think about is the searing kiss they shared many years ago.



Can a woman who only wants to rekindle her career and a man who enjoys a no-strings attached lifestyle find everlasting love?




You can find All That Glitters on Goodreads



You can buy All That Glitters here.

All That Glitters by Tracy Krimmer
Excerpt #2


Harris

“That night in your bedroom, I think about it all the time.”
I let go of the bat, and he did, too, our hands clasping together. Every muscle in my body tensed, and I ignored the birds chirping and kids yelling from the playground. At that moment, we were all that existed on Earth. The wind picked up, but it wasn’t enough to cool me down. From my head to the very tip of my toenails, I sweated in anticipation of the next moments.
“I do, too.” I thought about it more often than I should have. Some of my best memories with Dylan were always masked by that one kiss. My most shameful moment was at my wedding when Dylan and I shared our first kiss as husband and wife, and Harris entered my mind momentarily.
“I’m sorry about what happened after. I really am.”
I forgave him years ago. We were young, and I was hell bent on leaving Sycamore Bay. It worked out for the better because he would have only held me back. I never wanted to resent him, and surely I would have. But he had Jody, anyway.
“It’s okay, Harris. It really is.”
The gap started closing between us, the only air allowed our breath on one another. He smelled of strawberry, and I was sure he tasted just as sweet.
“No. It’s not. That kiss, that kiss brought me to my knees.” He squeezed my hand with his right and pulled me closer with his left. Our bodies touched, and our hearts raced against each other. “I have a feeling this one will, too.”
I sucked in a breath as we connected, my body exploding with energy, every piece of me filled with warmth, weakness, and joy all at one time. When he slipped his tongue in, I allowed my arms to wrap around his waist, rubbing between his shoulder blades and down his back until my hands rested above his backside. I wanted to push down farther, grab his butt, squeeze tight and pull him even harder against me so I could feel him. I didn’t, though. I kept kissing him, and he kept kissing me, and every piece of the puzzle fit together for those moments.
We could have been in a movie, everything spinning around us, and we stood still, our lips the only things moving. I wanted to lie down on the field, crawl on top of him, explore every inch of his body. Maybe later. I savored the moment we were in, relished in the fact I was kissing Harris Malone, and he was kissing me, and not in my bedroom. We were in the middle of a baseball field, in plain sight of anyone to see.
We pulled away from each other if only to take a breath. He took all of mine away.
“Wow.” He closed his eyes for a moment and opened them back up.
“Wow.” I repeated his sentiment.
“That was worth waiting eight years for.”
“I’d wait for eight more if it meant you’d kiss me like that again.”

My knees almost buckled beneath me when he gently placed his hands on either side of my face. He pulled me closer to him and put his lips to my ear and whispered, “It’s a good thing you don’t have to.”

Tracy KrimmerAbout the Author:

Tracy's love of writing began at nine years old. She wrote stories about aliens at school, machines that did homework for you, and penguins. Now she pens books and short stories about romance. She loves to read a great book, whether it be romance or science fiction, or any genre in between, or pop popcorn and catch up on her favorite TV shows or movies. She's been known to crush a candy or two as well. Her loves include fitness, reading, coffee, dogs, and naps (not in that order), and her dislikes are blue cheese, cold weather, and burpees.



You can find and contact Tracy here:

- Website

- Twitter

- Facebook

- Goodreads

- Amazon

- Bookbub

- Instagram

- Newsletter



Giveaway

There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of All That Glitters. One winner will win a $10 Amazon gift card!



For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Your crossroads. Your choice. by EJ Apicello



Title: Your crossroads. Your choice.
Author: EJ Apicello
Genre: Self-help
Welcome to my diary, my journey, as I tripped and crawled through the darkest time in my life- when I witnessed  people that I held incredibly close to me shatter my very existence with their words and actions. The things within this book spine are extremely raw and exceptionally real. You and I are going to get very close, the details in this book, although oddly general, are incredibly specific. Yes, I realize what I just said and as you read my words you will see what I mean. As you silently gasp and mentally bitch slap me, please be kind because my story is just that - my story. It is not any more or less special than yours. In fact the only difference between our stories are the choices we made at each of the crossroads in our lives. For most of my life the choices I made were not based on my happiness but on everyone else’s. This book describes what I have experienced in my journey to finding my happiness and hopefully never letting it go. Sadly, it took me thirty six years to find the strength I need to detoxify my life and self view and find someone who is worthy of my awesomeness. Thirty six years to shatter the negative foundation I had built shatter the ultimate representative I created to hide behind and begin the process of building a new foundation. Only this foundation will be built on strength, confidence and above all, happiness. So take a minute or thirty and sit with my story for a while. You never know what you might find out.
Excerpt:
If you haven’t slapped your forehead or dropped your jaw in amazement at the tangled, web I have managed to weave my life into by now, then you are a complete sociopath. For real, stop reading this and instead use it as a weapon to bludgeon your next murder victim since you obviously have no feelings! If however, you have on several occasions thought, “This bitch is crazy, shit like this only happens on TV!” well then you are a normal functioning human and should proceed with the rest of my story.
Author Bio

Welcome to my real, crazy, emotional, probably too honest journey. I am an everyday girl in this everyday world trying to keep my head above water and within the pages of this book you will learn about the things that have broken me down  and the steps I am taking to build back up. You will see, my new friends, that this story is written in a unique, general, conversational voice, which was my choice. I want you to be able to picture yourself in my shoes, relate my trials and tribulations to yours and see that you too can find your happiness. Even if you don’t realize this yet, every single one of us possesses things inside of ourselves that we didn't know were there. It took my life taking a crazy right turn and dumping me at the lowest possible point before I could see the strength within myself. We are not defined by what we do, we are defined by the choices we make. I decided when I put pen to paper that I want my choices to start defining me as strong, confident, secure and above all else, happy. So, who am I? How about I tell you who I was - a self loathing shell of myself who put everyone else’s happiness before my own. Herein lies my story to find that happiness and all of the ups and downs along the way. See who I was and who I am trying to become and maybe, somewhere in there, you will find out a little about yourself too.

Links
@ejapicello





Release Blitz- The Guardians of Ivalice


Title: The Guardians of Ivalice 
Author: Laura Catherine 
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy 
Release Date: June 24, 2017 


On Ivalice, Prince Morgan has been living in the shadow of his twin brother and older sister. She will be queen one day and inherit the power of Spirit to protect their world and guard the other elements from harm. Morgan wants this power for himself and nothing will stop him from getting it, not even his family. With her dying breath, Queen Tamsin sends the elements to another world where Morgan cannot have them.
On Earth, Nix, Grace, Kendra and Phoebe are four ordinary teenage girls living normal lives where homework and boys are their biggest problems. That is until they absorb some strange glowing balls of light into their bodies and start controlling the elements.
Everything is about to change for these girls when the weight of an entire world is put on their shoulders.



The bus was old and probably in need of replacing with ripped seats and graffiti on everything including the roof. It also smelled like those tree air fresheners.
She made her way down the aisle to her favourite spot. It was about halfway down the bus, not so close to the front that you had to sit near a teacher but not so far back that you stayed away from the school bullies in the back row.
Nix slid into her favourite seat, the one graffittied in lyrics from her favourite band Chaos Destiny.
“Hello.”
Nix looked up to see the new girl staring down at her.
“Hi,” Nix replied. “You’re the new girl.”
“Phoebe Jenkins,” she said with an awkward smile.
Poor girl, Nix thought, doesn’t know anyone.
“Ah, I’m saving the seat next to me for my friend, but you should sit in front of us.”
Phoebe looked surprised at the offer and Nix wondered if other people had been less nice to her. Hopefully she hadn’t been subject to the antics of the school bully, Jasper.
“Go on, sit,” Nix encouraged with a smile.
“Thank you,” Phoebe replied and perched herself on the seat ahead of Nix.
“I shotgunned the window side,” Grace said as she pushed her way through the aisle of students still taking their seats.
Nix moved out of the way so Grace could claim her prize. Grace was always last to be called for things because her last name was West.
“What did I miss?” Grace said leaning on the back of Phoebe’s seat.
“Grace this is Phoebe,” Nix introduced.
“Ah, new girl,” Grace said with a cheesy grin. “Excellent. How are you liking Verndale?”
Phoebe sat up straight, pushing a loose strand of hair behind her ear. “It is a very beautiful town,” she replied. Her voice was soft like a gentle touch of fingers on guitar strings.
“Great. Just stick with us and you can’t go wrong.” Grace winked and leaned back in her seat.
Mr. Haynes appeared at the front of the bus, ushering people to take their seats so he could do a head count.
“Now today’s excursion—”
Mr. Haynes was cut short as a dark skinned girl with a shining curtain of black hair raced up the bus steps.
“Kendra,” Mr. Haynes said a little startled. “Where have you been? I called your name a while ago.”
“I’ve been objecting,” she said giving him a dazzling white smile.
“Objecting.” Mr Haynes nodded then did a double take. “Objecting to what?”
“I’m objecting to this excursion. I shouldn’t have to be forced into a swamp against my will.”
“I am sorry, Miss Tate, but there are other places out there besides the mall,” said Mr. Cole, the sports teacher who was accompanying Mr. Haynes on the trip.
The students giggled. Kendra pouted and looked like she was going to argue the point, but Mr. Haynes asked her to take a seat.


Laura Catherine was born in Melbourne, Australia and spent most of her childhood creating fantasy worlds and talking to her invisible pet cheetah who ran along powerlines.


Her imagination has carried her through childhood where her mother read stories about fantasy worlds at bedtime. Never one to face reality, Laura spent a lot of time turning boxes into ships and castles.
Laura self-published her first novel, Djinn (2013), a Paranormal Romance, and the second in the series, Blooders (2015). Laura is currently working on the next instalment in the Djinn series, Bloodjinn, as well as a few other novels including the first in a new YA series, The Guardians of Ivalice.







Friday, June 23, 2017

Scribble & Author Blog Tour with review



Title:
SCRIBBLE & AUTHOR          

Author: Miri Leshem-Pelly

Publisher: Kane Miller Books

Pages: 32

Genre: Picture Book for Authors

Scribble &
Author
is written as a dialogue between the main character, Scribble, and
the author who created her. 

Scribble's journey
starts on a peaceful shore called THE BEGINNING, continues to the rough,
adventurous MIDDLE, and leads finally to the gate of THE ENDING, but it’s not
at all what Scribble expected… Scribble is a scribble and Author is an author,
but who really gets to tell the tale?

A picture book
about finding your own voice, making your own decisions, and writing your own
story.

Watch
the book trailer at Vimeo.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Book Excerpt:

A color spot,
some pencil lines,
and here you are…
Scribble!
Hi, who are
you?
Hello Scribble.
I’m the author,
and I’m here to help you create your journey.
Let’s start at the
beginning.
Wow, Author,
you’ve created a beautiful beginning!
Where do I go
next?
Well, it’s your
journey, so it’s up to you.
What would you
like to do?

My Review:
This is a super quick story to read. It's about Scribble who is a scribble and Author who actually is writing the book and also made Scribble. In the story Scribble basically comes to life and wants a friend. Author takes Scribble back to the beginning of the story and helps Scribble overcome his fears on his journey to find a friend. 

This book helps with overcoming fears in a way that makes Scribble think for himself. I personally love children's books that include a lesson of some sort and this ones gently takes on fears. Miri Leshem-Pelly has done a great job with this book and the illustrations are really fn as well. They each feature some type of art giving Scribble a situation to overcome, like climbing a mountain. Each picture also includes some sort of an art supply like paintbrush, tape, and even pencil shavings. 

I was given my copy of the book from the Author for reviewing purposes. These are my own thoughts on the book though. 

About the Author

Miri Leshem-Pelly
is the author-illustrator of 14 children’s books. She’s also illustrated 14
books for other writers. When Miri isn’t writing she can be found speaking at
schools, kindergartens and libraries. She is invited to do more than 200
presentations with her books per year. Miri is also a Regional Advisor for
SCBWI (Society of Children’s book writers & illustrators).

Miri is
represented by Olswanger Literary Agency.

Miri’s works have
won awards and her illustrations have been shown on several exhibitions.

Miri lives in Israel with her husband
and two children, and loves reading books and going on nature hikes.

Her latest book is
Scribble & Author.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE
| TWITTER | FACEBOOK













Amber Sky book blitz

Redemption Lake by Susan Clayton-Goldner

-------------------------------------------------------------------------



Mystery
Date Published: May 17, 2017
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

Tucson, Arizona – Eighteen-year-old Matt Garrison is harboring two terrible secrets: his involvement in the drowning death of his 12-year-old cousin, and a night of drunken sex with his best friend’s mother, Crystal, whom he finds dead the following morning. Guilt forces Matt to act on impulse and hide his involvement with Crystal. 

Detective Winston Radhauser knows Matt is hiding something. But as the investigation progresses, Radhauser’s attention is focused on Matt’s father. Matt’s world closes in when his dad is arrested for Crystal’s murder and Travis breaks off their friendship. Despite his father’s guilty plea, Matt knows his dad is innocent and only trying to protect his son. Devastated and bent on self-destruction, Matt heads for the lake where his cousin died—the only place he believes can truly free him. Are some secrets better left buried?

            Redemption Lake is a novel of love and betrayal. It’s about truth and lies, friendship and redemption, about assuming responsibility, and the risks a father and son will take to protect each other. 

Redemption Lake Excerpt

For the next hour and a half, he drifted in and out of sleep. Cradled by the night sounds of the desert outside the open window, each time a memory emerged, his thoughts thickened and folded back into sleep. At one point he heard water running for a bath. A little later, he heard a car outside. Oh God, please don’t let it be Travis. He stumbled to the window and opened the curtains. In the street, two long rectangular taillights moved away, turning south onto Oracle Road.
Matt leaned against the wall, staring at the sunflower sheets on Crystal’s bed. The same bed he and Travis had jumped up and down on when they were eight. The digital clock read 10:38 p.m. His head throbbed. He needed to close his eyes. Crystal would wake him in time to leave before Travis got home. He fell back onto the bed.
When he woke up again, the room was very dark. He wore only his boxers and a white T-shirt his mother had insisted upon—claiming his usual dark one would show through his tuxedo shirt. As if the color of his T-shirt could ruin her perfect wedding. But he’d been ingenious and found another way to ruin things for his mother. He turned toward the empty space beside him. It took a few moments for him to realize where he was. He closed his eyes, shook his aching head to clear it. Crystal was his best friend’s mother. What the hell was he doing in her bed?
He thought he heard the sound of the front door open, then close again. Oh God, please don’t let it be Travis. His eyes adjusted to the darkness. One event at a time, he remembered everything.
Fully awake now, he shot from the bed, rocking for a few seconds before he achieved balance, then hurried to the window. The moon hung over the mountaintop, its light silver and unforgiving. Crystal’s driveway was empty. Whoever he’d heard, it wasn’t Travis. On the other side of the street, an engine started. This time the taillights were round. Definitely not Crystal’s Escort. The car turned north on Oracle Road.
Matt let out the breath he’d been holding and glanced at the digital clock—its red letters told him it was 11:20 p.m. He needed to get dressed and leave. The dance ended in forty minutes and Travis would head home. He grabbed his tuxedo pants and shirt from the chair. His hands shook so hard he could barely work the fly and the button on his trousers. He slipped into his shirt, then sat on the edge of the bed. As if he had the flu, his head throbbed and his stomach felt queasy.
He rushed down the hallway toward the bathroom. And when he did, he saw the puddle of blood on the floor beside the bathtub.
He hurried across the room, jerked open the pale green shower curtain.
Crystal lay naked in a bathtub filled with blood-colored water. Her hair, her beautiful blonde curls, had been chopped off, shorter in some places than others, as if a small child had done it. Some of the curls were floating on top of the water.
For a strange moment, everything remained calm and slow.
Her head was propped against one of those blow-up pillows attached to the back of the tub with suction cups. The tint of her skin was pale and slightly blue. Crystal’s eyes were open and staring straight ahead—looking at something he couldn’t see. Blood splattered the white tiles that surrounded the tub. It dripped down them like wet paint. One of her hands flopped over the side of the tub. A single thick drop fell from her index finger into the crimson pond congealing on the linoleum floor. It covered her neck and shoulders. Tiny bubbles of frothy blood still oozed from the gash in her neck.
An empty Smirnoff bottle sat in a puddle of blood on the tub’s rim beside a straight-edged razor blade.
The bathroom was so quiet. Nothing but the sound of his own breathing. He clenched and unclenched his hands. His body grew numb. “Oh no. Oh God, no,” he said, the words thickening in the air in front of him. His head filled with strange sounds—the drone of insects humming, violinists tuning their strings. “What have I done?”
The contents of his stomach rose. He crouched in front of the toilet and heaved until nothing more came up. Then he started to rock, back and forth, muttering what he already knew was a useless prayer. Please, just let her be okay. He said it over and over like an unstoppable mantra. If only he could keep saying the words, maybe he could reverse this unthinkable thing.
Maybe she was still alive. He straightened up and stepped over to the bathtub to check Crystal’s neck for a pulse. As he bent closer, he smelled the metallic scent of her blood as it mixed with her perfume and the stale, metabolized smell of alcohol seeping through her skin. He placed two fingers on her neck, searching for her carotid and pressed. His fingers slipped into the gaping hole. It felt wet and warm. He screamed and jerked them out. They were covered in blood.
He swiped his hand on the front of his shirt, then checked the other side of her neck for a pulse. Please, just let her be okay. Nothing. He shook her by the shoulders, then tried again. Still no pulse. At that moment, he stopped his mantra.
Though he knew she was dead, he held her hand—soft and still warm. It belonged to Crystal, who’d taught him to line dance, who liked hot buttered popcorn with cheddar cheese grated on top. Crystal, who was sometimes irresponsible and drank way too much. Crystal, who’d cheered for him at bat in Little League, cheered just as loud as she had for her own son. Crystal, who’d always be sitting in a bathtub of blood. “I’m sorry.” He squeezed her hand, then let go. “And I swear to you, Travis will never know what happened between us.”
Struggling to his feet, he headed for the kitchen phone to call 911. Halfway to the bathroom door, he stopped. Blood smeared the front of his white shirt. And there was still blood on both his hands, drying beneath his fingernails. His body was slick with fear. He smelled it, tasted it, and felt it coming out of his pores like sweat. His mind told him to call the police, to tell the truth. His heart told him to keep his promise to Crystal. It was the last thing she’d ever ask of him.
He dropped his chin and stared at his shirt. Holy shit. If anyone saw him like this, they’d think he’d killed Crystal. The thought stopped him. Had he? Was he capable of doing something so heinous?
The bubble of panic in his throat got bigger. He hurried across the bathroom to wash his hands. There were more clumps of hair in the sink and a hardened blue streak of toothpaste. He used toilet paper to pick up the hair clumps and dropped them into the trashcan. Looking at the uncapped tube beside Crystal’s toothbrush, he felt as if something had been cut out of his chest.
He grabbed the sides of the sink, stared at himself in the mirror. The face staring back resembled no one he’d ever seen before. Was it the face of a murderer? Had he just pushed someone else to her death? He shook his head—breathing in short gasps, like a swimmer gearing up for a plunge. His lungs burned as if he were being swept away by a strong current.
When the memory of his cousin’s death surfaced, as it often did, Matt used his fists to hammer the stranger’s face he saw reflected in the medicine cabinet. The mirror fractured, sending out long cracks in every direction. The face split into interlocking parts like an abstract puzzle. One jagged sliver fell into the sink, breaking in half. It left a black and empty space in what had once been the mirror.
He held onto the sides of the sink again and rocked slowly in front of it, still staring at the blood on his hands and under his fingernails. “You’re all right,” he said, but could barely hear the words, the sounds inside his head were so loud.
In his mind he saw himself letting go of the sink and getting as far away from this nightmare as possible. But it would destroy Travis to come home and find his mother like this. Matt had to intercept him.
He washed his hands, then rinsed the blood from the sides and bowl of the sink, recapped the toothpaste and tucked it into the medicine cabinet. He wrapped the shards of mirror in toilet tissue, careful to avoid getting his fingerprints on the glass, and placed them in the trashcan, jagged sides down. There were no towels in the bathroom, so he wiped his wet hands on his pant legs. Panic rolled in, sucked him under.
What should he do? Call the police? His father? 911? If he did, there’d be a recording of his voice and he’d have a lot of explaining to do. The police often suspected 911 callers. They might take his DNA. What if they found semen inside of Crystal? What if they matched it to Matt’s DNA? If that happened, they’d know. It would be in the newspapers. It would hurt Travis. He couldn’t let that happen.
He hurried back into Crystal’s bedroom. Hands shaking, he sat on the edge of her bed and put on his socks and shoes. Then, as if he were someone else, running through an obstacle course, he went into the kitchen and gathered the empty beer bottles. He took them out into the garage and carefully placed them in their cardboard carriers. Next he wiped the kitchen table, closed the open drawers, loaded the dishwasher, emptied the ashtrays, then made Crystal’s bed with fresh sheets. He tossed the sunflower sheets into the washing machine and started the cycle, careful to wipe his prints from the lid and dial. With the same cloth, he wiped down the edge of the plastic shower curtain, then pulled it closed—the way he’d found it. For the most part, his fingerprints were easily explained. He’d spent almost as much time in Travis’ house as his own.
Matt stood in front of the coffee table. He heard the candles guttering, smelled the wax melting. He blew them out, then picked up the clothes Crystal had discarded in the hallway beside the bathroom door. Folding them neatly, he then placed them on the chair beside her window. He grabbed her red cowboy boots from the living room and set them beneath the chair. It was the least he could do for Travis.
The clock on the stove read 11:45 p.m. The Narrow Way didn’t allow opposite sex teenagers to spend unsupervised time together. Jennifer’s parents would pick her up from the dance. That meant Travis would be leaving for home soon.
If Matt hurried, he could intercept him, convince him to spend the night with Matt and his dad. He raced into Travis’ bedroom, jerked open the drawer where he kept his T-shirts. Surely he had a plain black or a dark blue one somewhere. Matt lifted the stacks of folded shirts until he found one, then ripped off the tuxedo and stained T-shirt, slipped Travis’ shirt over his head, then grabbed his jacket from the kitchen chair and hurried outside.
On the back deck, insects clustered around the light fixture, high-pitched, insistent and frantic. The sound reminded him of Crystal’s voice when she’d pleaded with him not to tell Travis. Why hadn’t he agreed?
In the carport, Matt unlocked the trunk of his Mustang, a restored nineteen sixty-seven Grande that had been his mom’s first car, and dropped both the jacket and the bloodstained shirt inside. Silence ballooned into the night air around him, a strange silence with a ticking heartbeat. Then he remembered the cufflinks. Crystal had tucked them into his shirt pocket. He checked. They weren’t there. He plunged his hands into his pants pockets and then the tuxedo jacket. No cufflinks. He didn’t have time to go back inside. He had to stop Travis from coming home.

When he climbed into the front seat, he looked out through the windshield, but the dome light inside the car and the darkness outside had changed the glass into a mirror. He turned away. His face was the last thing he wanted to see.

About the Author


Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona's Creative Writing Program and has been writing most of her life. Her novels have been finalists for The Hemingway Award, the Heeken Foundation Fellowship, the Writers Foundation and the Publishing On-line Contest. Susan won the National Writers' Association Novel Award twice for her novels and her poetry was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Animals as Teachers and Healers, published by Ballantine Books, Our Mothers/Ourselves, by the Greenwood Publishing Group, The Hawaii Pacific Review-Best of a Decade, and New Millennium Writings. A collection of her poems, A Question of Mortality was released in 2014 by Wellstone Press. Her novel, A Bend In The Willow, was published in January 2017. Redemption Lake, the first in a 3-book detective series, will be released May 17, 2017. Prior to writing full time, Susan worked as the Director of Corporate Relations for University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. 

Susan shares a life in Grants Pass, Oregon with her husband, Andreas, her fictional characters, and more books than one person could count. In her spare time, Susan likes to make quilts and stained glass windows. She says it is a little bit like writing, telling stories with fabric and glass.

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