Saturday, September 28, 2019

Showcase: Silent Voices by Fran Lewis

Silent Voices

by Fran Lewis

on Tour September 1-30, 2019

Synopsis:

Silent Voices by Fran Lewis
Driving down a rocky road I saw the overgrown grass, weeds, and poison ivy overtaking the outer perimeter of the bushes. The smell of mildew permeated the air, along with the stench of animals killed by cars coming up from the ground along this dirt road. I could see the sadness on the faces in the cars behind me; I could feel the pain and sorrow. As I looked inside the cars and saw the faces of the drivers, I began to wonder what they were thinking, their thoughts and feelings as they traveled down life’s highway, maybe for the very last time.

What stories lay behind the faces behind the wheel of each oncoming car?

What stories were hidden?

Whose voices are now silenced?

 

Reviews:

“Unique, haunting, terrifying, incredibly moving: Fran Lewis’ SILENT VOICES is all that and more as people tell spell-binding stories of their lives - and their deaths - from beyond the grave. You won’t forget this one!” - R.G. Belsky, award-winning author of the Clare Carlson mystery series.

"Silent Voices is a shrewd, sensitive and scintillating collection of short stories that make us feel and think. Noted talk show host Fran Lewis proves herself to be as skilled a storyteller as she is a listener, adept at both tugging on our heart strings and exposing the raw emotion between the lines. Her tales reach beyond the grave in fashioning rich tapestries drawn on a sprawling landscape at once both rich in color and gray-toned. A can't miss effort certain to live with you far beyond the turn of the final page." -Jon Land, USA Today bestselling author

"Once again, Fran Lewis knocks it out of the park with the latest in the Silent Voices series. At once chilling, but also inspirational, these stories do not fail to entertain. They will also raise the goosebumps on your skin. Prepare to be thrilled." Vincent Zandri, New Your Times bestselling Thriller Award winning author of The Remains and The Caretaker's Wife

Book Details:


Genre: Horror, Suspense 
Published by: Southern Owl Publications, LLC
Publication Date: June 10th 2019
Number of Pages: 51
ASIN: B07S75JPQW
Series: Silent Voices
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads


Author Bio:

Fran Lewis
Fran Lewis taught for 36 years as a staff developer in reading and writing and a dean. She is the author of the Bertha and Tillie series and the author of the Faces behind the stones series as well as her books for caregivers on Alzheimer’s and mj magazine and mj network.

Catch Up With Fran Lewis On:
tillie49.wordpress.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Twitter, & Facebook!




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Friday, September 27, 2019

Showcase:Strands Of Truth by Colleen Coble

Strands of Truth

by Colleen Coble

on Tour September 9 - October 4, 2019

Synopsis:

Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble
Strands of Harper Taylor’s childhood are resurfacing—but will the truth save her . . . or pull her under?

Harper Taylor is used to being alone— after all, she grew up in one foster home after another. Oliver Jackson finally took her under his wing when she was a runaway teenager, and now Harper pours her marine biology knowledge into Oliver’s pen shell research. But she’s never stopped wishing for a family of her own.

So when a DNA test reveals a half-sister living just two hours away, Harper is both hopeful and nervous. Over warm cinnamon rolls, Harper and Annabelle find striking similarities in their stories. Is it just a coincidence that both their mothers died tragically, without revealing Harper and Annabelle’s father’s name?

Oliver’s son Ridge still sees Harper as a troubled teen even all these years later. But when Oliver is attacked, Ridge and Harper find themselves working together to uncover dangerous secrets that threaten to destroy them all. They must unravel her past before they can have any hope for the future.

Book Details:


Genre: Romantic Supsense
Published by: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: September 10th 2019
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 0718085906 (ISBN13: 9780718085902)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Prologue
January 1990
St. Petersburg, Florida
Lisa ran to her Datsun Bluebird and jerked open the yellow door. Her pulse strummed in her neck, and she glanced behind her to make sure she wasn’t being followed. She’d tried not to show fear during the confrontation, but it was all she could do not to cry. She couldn’t face life without him.
She’d been on edge ever since yesterday.
Twilight backlit the treetops and highlighted the hanging moss. Instead of finding it beautiful, she saw frightening shadows and shuddered. She slid under the wheel and started the engine, then pulled out of her driveway onto the road.
She turned toward the Gulf. The water always calmed her when she was upset—and she had crossed upset moments ago and swerved into the scared zone.
Her belly barely fit under the wheel, but this baby would be born soon, then she’d have her figure back. She accelerated away from her home, a dilapidated one-story house with peeling white paint, and switched on her headlights.
The radio blared full of the news about the Berlin Wall coming down, but Lisa didn’t care about that, not now. She switched channels until she found Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’ ”playing, but even her favorite tune failed to sooth her shattered nerves. Could she seriously be murdered over this? She’d glimpsed madness in those eyes.
She pressed the brakes as she came to a four-way stop, but the brake pedal went clear to the floor. She gasped and pumped the pedal again. No response. The car shot through the intersection, barely missing the tail end of another vehicle that had entered it before her.
Hands gripping the steering wheel, she struggled to keep the car on the road as she frantically thought of a way to bring it to a stop that didn’t involve hitting another car or a tree. The baby in her belly kicked as if he or she knew their lives hung suspended in time.
“We’re going to make it, little one. We have to. I can’t leave you alone.” No one would love her baby if she died. Her mother couldn’t care for her child. She cared more about her drugs than anything else.
Lisa tried to tamp down her rising emotions, but she’d never been so frightened. The car fishtailed on the sandy road as she forced it back from the shoulder. Huge trees lined the pavement in a dense formation. Where could she drive off into relative safety? A field sprawled over on the right, just past the four-way stop ahead. If she made it through, it seemed the only place where they might survive.
Had the brakes been cut? What else could it be? She’d just had the car serviced.
Lisa approached the stop sign much too fast. The slight downhill slope had only accelerated the speed that hovered at nearly seventy. Her mouth went bone dry.
***
Taken from “Strands of Truth” by Colleen Coble. Copyright © 2019 by Colleen Coble. Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/.



Author Bio:

Colleen Coble
Colleen Coble is a USA TODAY bestselling author and RITA finalist best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Twilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender Tides, Sunset Cove, Hope Beach, and Rock Harbor series.




Connect with Colleen online at:




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Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Showcase: One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski

One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski

 

 

One Night Gone

by Tara Laskowski

on Tour September 23 - October 4, 2019

Synopsis:

One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski
“A subtly but relentlessly unsettling novel.” —TANA FRENCH, author of The Witch Elm

It was the perfect place to disappear…

One sultry summer, Maureen Haddaway arrives in the wealthy town of Opal Beach to start her life anew—to achieve her destiny. There, she finds herself lured by the promise of friendship, love, starry skies, and wild parties. But Maureen’s new life just might be too good to be true, and before the summer is up, she vanishes.

Decades later, when Allison Simpson is offered the opportunity to house-sit in Opal Beach during the off-season, it seems like the perfect chance to begin fresh after a messy divorce. But when she becomes drawn into the mysterious disappearance of a girl thirty years before, Allison realizes the gorgeous homes of Opal Beach hide dark secrets. And the truth of that long-ago summer is not even the most shocking part of all…

“A heart-wrenching and suspenseful novel of betrayal and revenge. Stunning!” —Carol Goodman, award-winning author of The Night Visitors

“Featuring a brilliantly executed dual timeline with two unforgettable narrators, One Night Gone is a timely and timeless mystery that will keep you obsessively reading well past your bedtime.” —Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World

Book Details:


Genre: Mystery,Suspense
Published by: Graydon House Books (Harlequin)
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 1525832190 (ISBN13: 9781525832192)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Opal Beach was about a two-hour drive without traffic from downtown Philadelphia. It was somewhere halfway between Ocean City and Atlantic City and way less touristy. The beach always reminded me of vacations as a kid, running barefoot on hot sand, creating lopsided sand castles with plastic buckets, breaking crab legs and sucking out the meat. But there was also a sense of slowing down, of taking it all in, and I needed that now. I could feel the air change, the way it clung, coated, opened everything up.
Through the car windows, the Oc¬tober air was shockingly cold but also reviving. The salty air had always bothered my mother and sister, who complained it was too humid and their tongues felt strange, but I loved the way it worked its fingers into my hair and curled around the tendrils. It made me feel a little wild, a little different. Untamed. Like anything could happen.
Was I really doing this? Was I really pressing on this pedal, steering, guiding these four wheels to a stranger’s beach house, where I would live for the next three months alone? It had all happened so fast. A blur, really. Annie’s friend Sharon, with that same nurse-like efficiency that Annie had, set it all up so quickly that I’d barely had time to adjust to the idea before it was actually happening.
But I was used to life messing with me now, used to tripping over a curb or forgetting to eat breakfast or chipping a nail, waking up only to discover that everything I’d known to be true was suddenly different. So in some ways this journey, the picking up and leaving behind, felt like an emerging. Like Rockefeller, the hermit crab I’d bought on our family vacation one year at a boardwalk shack, I was crawling out of a dingy shell and moving into a shinier, larger home. (Unlike Rockefeller, though, I hoped I wouldn’t die from the soap residue that was left inside the new shell when someone tried to clean it too vigorously before setting him inside the cage.)
I drove down a two-lane road just off the ocean, the main drag for all the beachfront houses. I could imagine that on a weekend in July it looked like a parking lot as families navigated in or out of town, canoes and coolers tied up on their roof racks. But now it was eerily vacant, and I had the sense I was the last woman on earth, that in my quiet drive alone the rest of humanity had vanished. I was trying to decide if that was a good thing or not when a giant orange Hummer zoomed into view behind me and passed without slowing down. “Well, so much for that. Asshole,” I said.
The houses were dramatically large and looming, blocking what otherwise would’ve been a magnificent view. You could tell which ones were just rentals—the monstrosities with thirteen bedrooms and a six-car garage that five families could rent out at once. But further down the road, the houses had more style and character. The kind of places—lots of windows, big porches, nice landscaping—that would make your mouth water even without the lush ocean backdrop as icing on the cake.
I slowed as my GPS indicated I was getting close, but even so I almost missed the tiny driveway and its faded, weather-beaten road sign declaring my new mailing address: Piper Sand Road.
I had made it.
The long gravel drive split off halfway up, with one side leading to the Worthington house and the other side to their neighbor’s. When I’d first met the Worthingtons for my “job interview” just a few weeks before, I’d been so nervous about the whole thing that I’d taken the wrong driveway and parked in the neighbor’s lot and stared at it for a good minute before realizing the house number was wrong.
But now, pulling into the correct driveway slowly, it felt like an adventure movie soundtrack should be swelling. And our heroine finds her destiny.
I could imagine Annie’s reaction when she finally saw the house in person. It was stunning. The surrounding homes were propped up on beams, like old ladies hitching up their skirts so they wouldn’t get wet in the surf, but that just gave the Worthingtons’ house an understated effect. It stood confident and modest between them, a beach gingerbread house right out of a fairy tale, with light blue curtains and sweeping eaves.
I parked right at the porch steps and got out, wrapping my cardigan around me to stave off the whipping wind. The front porch was small but quaint, with two wooden rocking chairs and a small white table with flaking paint. I ran my palm along the back of one of the tall chairs, and it creaked from my touch. The chairs seemed to be more for decoration than sitting.
Dolores, Sharon’s sister who lived in town, was supposed to be meeting me to hand over the keys. Yet it seemed I’d arrived first. I’d had to come one week sooner than planned, as Patty and John had been whisked away to her mysterious assignment in Eastern Europe a little earlier than expected. Patty had called me from the airport with the news. I’d pictured her in her white visor and tennis sneakers rushing through the terminals, bags bouncing off her lower back as she breathlessly gave me instructions.
Still, I half expected Patty to appear in the window as I squatted down and peered inside the house. It was hard to see with the bright sun glaring at my back, but I could make out the shadowy silhouette of the large island counter in the middle of the kitchen. Beyond that room, I remembered, was the living room, with doors and stairs leading to all the many nooks of the house.
All empty now, waiting for me. A shiver curled from my spine up to my neck, unwinding inside me. Calm down, you idiot, I told myself. Not everything is a trap. Think positively, and positive things will come.
***
Excerpt from One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski. Copyright © 2019 by Tara Laskowski. Reproduced with permission from Graydon House Books (Harlequin). All rights reserved.



Author Bio:

TARA LASKOWSKI
TARA LASKOWSKI is the award-winning author of two short story collections, Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons and Bystanders, which was named a best book of 2017 by Jennifer Egan in The Guardian. She has had stories published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Mid-American Review, and the Norton anthology New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction, among others. Her Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine story, “States of Matter,” was selected by Amy Hempel for the 2017 Best Small Fictions anthology, and her short story “The Case of the Vanishing Professor” is a finalist for the 2019 Agatha Award. Tara was the winner of the 2010 Santa Fe Writers Project’s Literary Awards Prize, has been the editor of the popular online flash fiction journal SmokeLong Quarterly since 2010, and is a member of Sisters in Crime. She earned a BA in English with a minor in writing from Susquehanna University and an MFA in creative writing from George Mason University. Tara grew up in Pennsylvania and lives in Virginia. One Night Gone is her first novel.

Visit Tara at:




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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Harlequin and Tara Laskowski. There will be 1 winner of one (1) copy of One Night Gone (print). The giveaway begins on September 23, 2019 and runs through October 6, 2019. Open to U.S. and Canada addresses only. Void where prohibited.

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Book Review: Love in the Time of WhatsApp and Other Stories by Various

Title: Love in the Time of WhatsApp and Other Stories

Author: Various

Publisher: Juggernaut






Love in the Time of WhatsApp and Other Stories is Juggernaut's first digital to print anthology. It is collection of 12 stories where love has found, or un-found, fruition holding the hands of technology. The stories have a recurring theme that projects how technology has changed the way we love and even find love.

With smartphones replacing every other form of engagement in our lives, instant messaging has become the primary mode of communication for many people, especially for those involved in romantic relationships. This collection gives a tiny peek at this phenomenon.

All the stories are non-taxing; there are neither heart-racing disaster dramas nor wrenching emotional excavations in this collection. However, every story entertains or makes us think. Some more so than the others.

My personal favourites are ‘Wi-Fi Love,’ ‘Rent a Husband,’ and ‘Mrs Good Luck’ among others. Though ‘Chrysanthemums in Springtime’ doesn’t conform to the theme, it is nevertheless a good read. ‘TTYL’ made me realize how lonely we’ve all become even when the world is just a click away. 'The Glitch' got me quite worried while thinking where the world's headed.

Simple language, a conversational style, and relatable circumstances makes this anthology an easy read. Think of those utterly boring commutes and pick up this book. You won’t have wasted your precious reading time.

The anthology is a collection of entertaining and engagingly written tales that will please fans of its genre.




The twelve writers included in this anthology are some of the most popular authors on the Juggernaut app. Most of them were discovered on the Juggernaut writing platform.


Amazon I Juggernaut


I'd like to thank the publisher for letting me review the book. I do hope you end up liking the book when you read it. Thank you so much for stopping by, and happy reading!




* I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

** Picture courtesy: Amazon.in


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Blog Tour: Forbidden Romance by Bella Jeanisse




New Release  
Forbidden Romance, Silverblade, Book 3
Release Date: September 12th
Bella Jeanisse
Rockstar Romance
332 Pages
#FRWTMO



A Rockstar Romance set in the World of Triple Threat.

Happily ever after is just within reach, but life has more obstacles in store for Shane Martin than he imagined possible.

The frontman for Silverblade has been dealing with guilt since his best friend, Troy Hudson, overdosed. Shane’s feelings for Troy’s wife, Patricia, intensify it. Nevertheless, he yearns for a life with her. 

Patricia Hudson lives with the ghost of her deceased husband, even mistaking Shane for Troy when attempting intimate moments. She is determined to find a way to make it work for them. A second chance at love is worth fighting for.

Silverblade is a Rockstar Romance series which follows the band through a transformation that leaves them open to new possibilities.

Book 1 – Silverblade

Book 2 – Accidental Romance

Book 3 – Forbidden Romance

Warning: For those 18 and over only. May not suitable for all readers. Bumps in the road can be fun, right?



Universal Book Link: https://books2read.com/u/31reo6

Eden Books: shorturl.at/oIMQW









Patty smiled when Shane leaned on her as she washed the dishes. His freshly dyed hair draped over her shoulder. “Do you need something?”

“Yeah… but not gonna ask you for that… yet.” His eyes closed as his body responded to their closeness. One foot moved back, then he decided he shouldn’t hide his desire for her.

She pressed against him and bit her lip when she felt a bulge in his shorts. What’s he like in bed? Should I make the first move? Does he like that sort of thing? Ugh! We’re taking this slow, remember? Maybe we should go out on a date.

“Patty?” She hadn’t responded to multiple questions. With an urge for more contact, Shane placed his hands on her hips. “How about we watch a porn on the couch?”

The plate in Patty’s hand slipped. “What?”

“That you hear, but not me asking if you’ve seen the new Star Wars movie?”

She blushed. “I’m sorry. My mind drifted for a while.”

“I know.” His lips touched her ear. “What were you thinking about? Me?”

“Yes.” Her entire body shivered. “Are you trying to seduce me?”

His eyes widened. “Uh… no.” He stepped back. “Sorry.”

She turned and winked. “It’s working.”

“Really?” He brushed her lips with his. “I guess we should continue then.”



“Another Rock Romance Winner!!
This is an amazing love story between Shane and Patty that keeps you on the edge of your seat and praying that these two can find their HEA especially considering their circumstance….” - Doris


Another 5+ star read in the Silverblade series set in the Triple Threat World of Rockstars. Shane and Patty's story takes them on a journey of loss and grief, acceptance, lust and love. - Sarah


“It was so great to delve back into the Silverblade world. If you love series that bring characters in from other books Bella’s book are it. 
This story is about finding love again and rebirth” - Suzan

“Amazing. Bella has grown so much in her writing that with every new book you can feel like you are one with the characters.” - Traci

✫*¨*✶.¸¸.✶*¨*✫✫*¨*✶.¸¸.✶*¨*✫






Silverblade Book 1



Genre: Rockstar






Universal link:

Eden Books:




✫*¨*✶.¸¸.✶*¨*✫✫*¨*✶.¸¸.✶*¨*✫





Accidental Romance - Silverblade Book 2
Genre: Rockstar Romance






Eden Books:




✫*¨*✶.¸¸.✶*¨*✫✫*¨*✶.¸¸.✶*¨*✫






BELLA.jpg



Bella Jeanisse lives for rock music. Addicted to concerts, Avenged Sevenfold, fictional rockers, and blasting music in the car, she can’t get enough. After her father turned her on to Queen, there was no going back. Of course, it didn’t stop there. Playing guitar became a pastime, which didn’t turn into a career… until she started to pen her fantasies and publish them.



Originally from Brooklyn, New York City, she grew up with access to clubs like L’Amour and CBGBs, hung out in Greenwich Village, as well as had plenty of friends in bands. No wonder rockers stayed on her mind. Bringing her ideas to life was a long time coming.



She is now living near Tampa, FL with 3 kids and 3 grandkids, as a single mom. Her family supports her writing even when it seems to take up more time than they feel is necessary. Can’t stop the muse, ya know!

Besides erotic rock star romances, Bella also writes about wild bikers, hot college men and more.



wTMO hostedby.jpg








Monday, September 16, 2019

Showcase: Road To Nowhere by Cy Wyss

Road To Nowhere by Cy Wyss Banner

 

 

Road To Nowhere

by Cy Wyss

on Tour September 1-30, 2019

 

Road To Nowhere by Cy Wyss

Synopsis:


 

PJ Taylor, the feline shapeshifter, is back! Someone is kidnapping people’s pet cats and holding them for ransom. When PJ’s beloved niece is catnapped, the trail leads PJ to Nowhere, a tiny hamlet north of her hometown of Mayhap. What intrigues will PJ find among the inhabitants of this minuscule community? You can bet it involves at least one person up to no good and flushing this person out could be…murder!

 



Book Details:


Genre: Cozy Mystery
Published by: Nighttime Dog Press, LLC
Publication Date: September 1, 2019
Number of Pages: 222
ASIN: B07WCHL75J
Series: Eyeshine, 2
Purchase Links: Amazon, Goodreads



Read an excerpt:

Robert Taylor entered the brownstone via the back door, closing it quietly behind himself. He was in a landing of pale green and gray with tan carpet and stairs leading upward and a sandwich board on the wall with office numbers. The woman he was looking for was in 303, two stories above him. He ascended the two flights, his heart leaden with reluctance.
He considered himself a unicorn – someone special and rare. Not only was he smart and successful (head of his own one-man FBI office in Mayhap, Indiana), the women in his family had the unusual proclivity to turn into cats when the sun set. This made them particularly effective operatives, although in fearing for their safety he often restricted their usefulness. His sister, PJ, had been his most important informant up until her recent death. He couldn’t believe she was gone.
It didn’t seem real. Didn’t cats have nine lives? He somehow expected PJ to rise from her grave and come back to him. Instead, here he was, about to attempt to convince a psychotherapist of his sanity in the face of his recent tragedies. All he wanted was to get back to work. They wouldn’t let him back without the sign-off from this woman, Ms. Julia Herzenberg. Her name conjured images of some ancient Freudian presence, maybe someone who looked like Dear Abby or Ruth Bader-Ginsberg, with copious wrinkles and a severe bun. He shivered at the idea of exposing his inner life to this person.
On the third floor, the stairwell opened into a larger space of muted pastels that smelled of rose and mint. Three doors greeted him, and he pushed through the one whose frosted glass proclaimed it 303. Inside, soft new age music played, and the floral scent was stronger. The culprit was an incense burner on a small table near the door. Thin smoke wafted from a glazed, bulbous pot in gray ombre. The walls of the suite were a soothing blue and the furniture worn leather in earthy browns. Striped pillows and throw blankets abounded, and health magazines lined the coffee table. Robert perched on the edge of a fat armchair and crossed his legs, interlacing his fingers around his knee. He waited, with the demeanor of a man about to face something dire and unwanted.
His first impression of Julia Herzenberg when she opened the inner door was that she looked nothing like an old psychiatrist or supreme court judge. Her hair flowed around her head in generous curls, spilling from her shoulders in waves of auburn silk. Her eyes were a crystalline green the likes of which he had only seen previously on actresses or fashion models. She was tall and thin, with slender, manicured fingers and long legs beneath a plaid wool skirt. She reminded him of a willow – inscrutable and eternal, with Nature’s grace and strength.
“Robert Taylor?” she asked.
It took him a moment to shut his flapping mouth and recover his aplomb.
“Yes,” he finally said, extending his hand.
She shook it firmly, her hand warm and dry. She led him into a brown hallway, and to an office at one end. The room contained the same homey furniture as the waiting area, in neutral shades of soft leather with woven and plush accompaniments.
“Have a seat,” she said.
He stared at the wide couch before him.
“Do I need to lie down?” he asked.
“Only if you want to,” she said.
She sat in an armchair across from the couch with her knees pressed together and her hands folded in her lap. She studied him, an entirely unassuming expression on her porcelain face. Awkwardly, he perched on the edge of the couch and rested his weight on his elbows on his thighs. He let his hands dangle.
She remained still and silent as he took in his surroundings. The paintings on the walls were interesting but not distracting and consisted of abstractions that reminded him of natural surroundings. The lights were incandescent, and the shades partially drawn, rendering the space as comforting as a forest nook where sunlight filtered through the branches above. Dr. Herzenberg even had a small fountain on one side table and the faint sound of running water complemented the illusion. Robert could feel his tension recede, despite his natural wariness and dark mood.
Still, she said nothing. Robert felt her watching him and found he couldn’t meet her gaze directly. Rather, his eyes roved over their environment, never settling for more than a few seconds. Behind and beside her was a narrow bookcase with glass panels and something about it bothered him. He kept returning to it, until he realized why. On the very top of the bookcase was an old-fashioned globe and a statue that looked like a very realistic black cat. It could have been PJ. He stared at the cat, and almost jumped out of his seat when the statue blinked.
“God, that’s a cat!” he said.
Dr. Herzenberg smiled. “That’s Bella.”
“Wow,” Robert said. “I thought she was a statue.”
“She likes to sit up there,” Dr. Herzenberg said. “Many of my patients don’t ever notice her.”
“I’m amazed. You bring your cat with you to the office?”
Dr. Herzenberg shrugged. “She doesn’t like to be alone.”
“You could get her a companion.”
“She doesn’t like other cats.”
Robert chuckled. “Typical difficult feline.”
“Tell me,” Dr. Herzenberg said. “Are you a cat person?”
He remembered his sister, and the fact he’d never see her again. His eyes burned, though he willed himself not to tear up.
“You could say that,” he said.
PJ had turned into a cat every night since shortly after she had hit puberty. He still remembered the first time she’d shapeshifted. He was a rookie cop at the time and looking after her since their parents had died, as her much older brother and legal guardian. They’d been playing video games on the couch when she howled and writhed in pain. He had thought she was dying and called 911.
Imagine his chagrin when they arrived and found no sign of the girl that he’d insisted needed an ambulance. Instead, a black tabby cat watched him explain that he’d had a nightmare and called emergency services by mistake. His colleagues ribbed him for weeks afterward.
Robert was so traumatized, he confined PJ to her room after sundown from that time forward, and he somehow managed to convince himself her transition hadn’t happened. It was only recently, with his own daughter, Nancy, entering puberty, that he’d finally opened up to PJ about her wonderous ability. He had been terrified that Nancy would become a shapeshifter as well. Be the status of that as it may, at least one outcome had been that he had become significantly closer to PJ, a relationship long overdue.
His memories of PJ ran through his mind, and guilt stabbed his heart. If only he hadn’t been so pigheaded, he could have showed his love for her sooner. He could have had years of closeness instead of mere months. They could even, perhaps, have–
No. He wouldn’t let himself think about that. Regret was a demon that ate you alive. It was what it was. He couldn’t change the past any more than he could draw castles in the sky.
“What are you thinking about?” Dr. Herzenberg asked.
Robert blinked several times, his reverie broken. “Nothing,” he said.
She stared at him. His gaze dropped to the coffee table between them.
“I was thinking of my sister,” he said.
“Tell me about her.”
Robert took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He crossed his arms over his chest and studied the carpet under their feet, a confetti-patterned collage of woodland hues. He found himself telling Dr. Herzenberg the truth – something he hadn’t done in decades.
“She’s not actually my sister,” he said.
“Oh?” She raised a delicate eyebrow.
“Well, she wasn’t, I mean,” he said. “My father was her mother’s cousin.”
Dr. Herzenberg appeared lost in thought for a moment. “So, your ‘sister’ was actually your second cousin?”
“Yes,” Robert said.
“Why do you call her your sister?”
“Our parents married,” Robert said. “Legally, PJ was my sister.”
“I see,” she said.
Another wave of regret washed over Robert. He clasped his hands together and hung his head so she wouldn’t see the sheen of tears in his eyes.
“I did read your employment record,” Dr. Herzenberg said. “You’ve had quite the last couple of weeks.”
Robert snorted. “Yeah. You could say that.”
“You failed the bureau’s lie detector test, separated from your wife, shot and killed a man, and your sister – your second-cousin, I mean – died. I’d say all of that qualifies you for a little paid leave.”
Then there was the business with his daughter, which he couldn’t talk about, as well as the thing concerning his infidelity, which he likewise couldn’t bring himself to talk about. His shoulders drooped.
“I don’t want paid leave,” he said. “I want to get back to work. All I do is sit around and mope. If I can work, I’ll feel better.” He looked up, into her concerned face. “What can I do to convince you I’m fit for returning to work – that, in fact, it’ll help me recover?”
She tilted her head and scrutinized him. He fidgeted under the weight of those amazing green eyes.
“You can’t run from your grief, Robert. Turning your attention elsewhere will only cause it to fester and grow into something uncontrolled.”
He sighed. “I was afraid you’d say that.”
On top of the bookcase, the cat stood and stretched elegantly, her back a deeply curved S. She sat on her haunches and used her paw to clean her snout. Robert watched, fascinated.
“Tell me more about your sister,” Dr. Herzenberg said.
Another wave of regret reminded Robert of his failures, and, with it, a twinge of fear piqued his soul. He’d already said too much.
“You were close, I take it,” the psychiatrist said.
“Yeah,” Robert said.
Dr. Herzenberg waited. Robert looked around the room again, his gaze settling on the quarter-height of window, through which a gray fall sky was visible.
“What bothers you most about her death?” she asked.
Robert’s eyes lost their focus as his attention turned inward. Guilt weighed heavy in his heart as he remembered the past two weeks and his role in the whole mess.
“I never…” He couldn’t bring himself to say it.
Dr. Herzenberg perked up. “You never what?”
He stared at the cat, who stared back unblinkingly. The odd sense of unreality overtook him again and he found himself speaking the truth once more.
“I never told her how much I loved her,” he said.
“I’m sure she knew,” Dr. Herzenberg said.
Robert shook his head. “No. She didn’t.”
“What makes you think that?”
“I pushed her away. She wanted more from me. I should have given it to her.”
Dr. Herzenberg’s brow furrowed and her eyes darkened. “What are we talking about, Robert? You’ve told me she wasn’t your blood sister. How did you see her? As your little sister? Or, as something more than that?”
Robert ground his teeth. How did they get onto this topic? He was here to get back to work, not to get himself fired for inappropriate feelings toward PJ.
“I shouldn’t have said it that way,” he said. “Of course, I meant it platonically.”
She studied him. “You know that everything you tell me is confidential.”
He frowned. “I know you have to report what I say to my superiors,” he said.
“No,” she said. “I have to report my overall opinions. Your disclosures are entirely between us alone.”
Robert stared up at Bella, whose golden gaze had never seemed to leave him. He was pretty sure the cat saw right through him, and he wondered how much of that ability Dr. Herzenberg had.
He said nothing.
***
Excerpt from Road To Nowhere by Cy Wyss. Copyright 2019 by Cy Wyss. Reproduced with permission from Cy Wyss. All rights reserved.



Author Bio:

Cy Wyss
Cy Wyss is a writer based in Indianapolis, Indiana. They have a Ph.D. in computer science and their day job involves wrangling and analyzing genetic data. Cy is the author of three full-length novels as well as a collection of short stories and the owner and chief editor of Nighttime Dog Press, LLC.
Before studying computer science, Cy obtained their undergraduate degree in mathematics and English literature as well as masters-level degrees in philosophy and artificial intelligence. They studied overseas for three years in the UK, although they never managed to develop a British accent.
Cy currently resides in Indianapolis with their spouse, daughter, and two obstreperous but lovable felines. In addition to writing, they enjoy reading, cooking, and walking 5k races to benefit charity.

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