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“Feathered: A Young Adult Fantasy Fairy Tale (Swan Maiden Book 1)” by Rachel Wollaston #Excerpt3


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EXCERPT #3

I hear something plop to the floor and a cry of, “Oops!” from a woman beside me. I glance over to see what she dropped and immediately wish I hadn’t.

Something ball-shaped rolls underneath the table towards me, stopping when it hits the side of my foot. I nearly retch at the sight of black, beady eyes staring up at me.

They’re eating swan.

Feeling sick to my stomach, I back away from the decapitated head as it watches me, a silent warning of what my fate will be if I get caught. I only take a few steps when a sharp pain shoots up my wing. Stifling a shriek, I look down to see a man’s boot clamping the appendage to the ground. I try to yank myself free but the weight is too much and the pain is excruciating. Eventually, the man lifts his foot and I go flying backwards, colliding into the man opposite. The force of the impact makes him drop his fork. It lands with a reverberating clatter on the stone floor. I look around to see where it landed. The hesitation costs me.

I don’t see the hand until it’s too late. The blind fingers grope around but, instead of landing on the fork, they find my tail feathers. I squeal as whoever the fingers belong to yanks the feathers hard, tearing a couple of them free from my skin. I ram into one of the table legs, making the whole section of the table lurch forward.

A startled clamour takes over the room and faces start to appear under the table, curious as to what caused such a racket. Another hand stretches towards me in an attempt to grab me. Without thinking, I bite down on one of the podgy fingers before it comes anywhere near touching me. A female voice yelps.

“There’s a beast under the table!” I hear her scream. I take that as my cue to start running. This time, I don’t take much care in dodging the many feet threatening to trip me up. Instead, I sprint down the length of the table, paying no attention to what I hit in the process.

A few feet farther down, I hit a blockade. One young man crouches under the table holding his hands out, ready to catch me as I run. I have no choice but to dart out from under the table. With no time to slow down, I skid out into vision. Guests gasp and shriek as I tumble out from under the cloth. A few try to grab me.

Only one thought is on my mind, and that is that I have to get out of here. What I’ll do then, I’m not entirely sure. I’ll have to worry about that when the time comes.

 

 

———

Title: Feathered: Swan Maiden – Book 1

Author: Rachel Wollaston

Genre: Fantasy

The light and the dark were never meant to be separated.

When her bargain with a malevolent wizard goes terribly wrong, Marion DuVal finds herself trapped between two forms: a beautiful but darker parallel of herself, and a swan. Somehow, she must adhere to the wizard’s wishes, but it’s hard to perform epic magic when your feet are flippers and your neck’s the length of a small fishing pole. Caught up in a lie of royal proportions, her task is to get close to the queen, and such a thing is difficult when a certain handsome prince keeps getting in the way.

One girl; two identities. Marion must stop the darkness inside her before it’s too late.

Based on the classic tale of Swan Lake.

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Author Bio

Born and bred in Gloucestershire, UK, Rachel Wollaston is a huge lover of all things fantasy. From an early age, her dream was toRachel Wollaston be a fairy, but the pay was no good, so she decided to become a writer instead. A Creative Writing student, Rachel is the author of young-adult fantasy and loves to build worlds that she wishes she could be a part of.

Besides writing, Rachel also enjoys a range of other artistic hobbies, including dancing, drawing, and an unhealthy amount of arts and crafts. You will almost always find her with a cup of tea and a cat watching old ‘70s comedies.

 

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“From Compton to Congress” by Walter R Tucker, III #Excerpt


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EXCERPT – Chapter 2

“Line four, sir.”

I picked up.

“Hello. This is Congressman Tucker.”

“Hi, Andy Pazstor with The Wall Street Journal.”

“How can I help you?”

“Congressman, thanks for taking my call.”

The voice seemed eager and cunning, but somehow, credible.

“I’ve been informed by a reliable source that pursuant to a three-year investigation by the FBI the Justice Department will be filing extortion and tax evasion charges against you tomorrow.  Do you have any comment?”

This is a bad joke on a busy day. 

“Who are you?”

“My name is Andy Pazstor, P-A-Z-S-T-O-R, a reporter with The Wall Street Journal.”

“Look, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Gotta be an old college buddy playing a sick prank. Or a friend of my father’s, trying to see what kind of stuff I’m made of. Maybe?

“The charges apparently relate back to the time when you were mayor of Compton, California in 1991. Can you think of any reason the Justice Department would want to indict you?” the reporter asked.

I let out a breath and spoke carefully. “Well, it’s an election year, and I can think of a lot of people who have political agendas.”

“So are you denying any wrongdoing?”

 

“Absolutely!” I felt defensive and agitated.

The whole thing was very mysterious, and yet something seemed real. Being an attorney, I knew that whatever evil was lurking out there would require an attorney.

“But, Congressman, you did serve as mayor of Compton, California in 1991, didn’t you?”

“Where’s all this coming from?”

“All I can tell you is what I know, not who I know it from.”

“Surely you can tell me who in the Justice Department is making the allegations?”

“You might want to talk with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in L.A. Other than that, I can’t help you, Congressman. I’m sorry.”

Abruptly, I hung up and stared blankly at the photos of those powerful leaders on my wall. Suddenly their internal voices rang through my twirling mind: “Don’t fret, Walter. All great men suffer trials.”

I yanked my tie loose, perspiring. I pulled a number out of my Rolodex. “Johnnie!”

There were not many defense attorneys, white or black, whose first name brought instant recognition. Attorney Johnnie Cochran, Jr. was one of them. My fingers hurriedly dialed the phone number to his L.A. office. As Johnnie’s number rang, I stared at Andy Pazstor’s name and kept thinking…three years ago…when I was Mayor. What in the world is this all about?

———

From Compton to Congress coverTitle: From Compton to Congress: His Grace for my Race

Author: Walter Tucker III

Genre: Nonfiction Memoir

From Compton to Congress reveals shocking criminal charges, based on an FBI Sting, that send Congressman Walter R. Tucker III reeling, and changes his life forever. Against the great odds of overcoming the tough streets of Compton, young Tucker fulfills his goals of becoming valedictorian of Compton High School, graduate of USC with honors, graduate of Georgetown Law School, passing the California State Bar, and filling his father’s vacant seat as Mayor of Compton—all by age 33. During his meteoric rise in the political arena, at age 35 he becomes the youngest African-American from California to be elected to a U.S. congressional seat. However, the U.S. Attorney’s federal indictment against him shocks the nation. Tucker’s choice to fight the charges against him thrusts him into a criminal trial that tests the condition of his human spirit and provokes us to reflect on every man’s plight versus every man’s fight.

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Author Bio

Walter R. Tucker, III is a native of Compton, California. He graduated Valedictorian of Compton High School in 1974. After graduating from high school, Walter studied Politics at Princeton University for two years. After receiving his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from U.S.C. in 1978, and his Juris Doctor from Georgetown Law School in 1981, Walter worked as a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney, established his own law firm, served as Mayor of Compton, and was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1993 – all by age 35. Walter R. Tucker, III is still the youngest African American to ever to be elected to the U.S. Congress from the State of California. In 2003, Walter became a pastor of a church in Chicago. In 2012, Walter and his wife, Robin Tucker, returned to Los Angeles and founded Truth and Love Christian Church, located in Carson, California. The church currently has over 300 members and 40 ministries in operation. Walter and Robin have been happily married for 30 years. They are the proud parents of Walter, IV, and Autumn and have one son-in-law, Spencer Rodney Sr., and one wonderful grandchild, Spencer Rodney, Jr. Walter enjoys morning walks on the beach and candlelight dinners with Robin.

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“Power Struggle (Detective Madison Knight Series Book 8)” by Carolyn Arnold #Excerpt #Giveaway


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Power Struggle 3D coverTitle: Power Struggle (Detective Madison Knight Series Book #8)

Author: Carolyn Arnold

Genre: Mystery

One hitman who’s back for revenge.

One detective who’s not going down without a fight.

It’s been ten months since Detective Madison Knight almost died at the hands of Russian Mafia hitman Constantine Romanov. She hasn’t seen hide nor hair of him since he escaped police custody and fled to Russia soon after his arrest, except now her latest murder investigation gives her reason to believe he’s back in town. Seeing as the victim is the man who killed her grandfather, her perspective may be a little skewed, but with the MO smacking of Constantine and the victim’s connections to the mob, she finds it hard to be objective. Still, she’s doing her best to consider all the evidence.

When she receives a threatening letter from Constantine, however, her suspicions are confirmed. And he’s made it abundantly clear that not only does he plan to finish what he started but he has her family and loved ones in the crosshairs, too. Madison vows to do whatever it takes to save them, but as the hours race by, the body count rises. And the stakes only get higher when Madison’s sister, Chelsea, goes missing.

Now, Madison’s only play is to take Chelsea’s disappearance for what it really means: Constantine is calling Madison out for one final showdown. And they won’t both survive…

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Series Information

What to expect from the Detective Madison Knight series:

Murder. Investigation. The pursuit of justice. Do you love trying to figure out whodunit? How about investigating alongside police detectives from the crime scene to the forensics lab and everywhere in between? Do you love a strong female lead? Then I invite you to meet Detective Madison Knight as she solves murders with her male partner, utilizing good old-fashioned investigative work aided by modern technology.

This is the perfect book series for fans of Law & OrderCSIBlue BloodsRizzoli & IslesWomen’s Murder Club, and Hawaii Five-O.

Read in any order or follow the series from the beginning.


Book Excerpt

Excerpt #2

Excerpt from chapter 3 of Power Struggle (Detective Madison Knight series)

Yasmine was set up in interrogation room one. There was something about questioning a potential murder suspect in this formal setting that gave law enforcement the edge. Even an innocent person could find themselves unraveling under the pressure, and the mind is good at playing games. It can make one feel guilty when they’re not, and that’s why it was crucial to ask the right questions and be able to read people accurately.

Madison and Terry were about to go in. She had one hand on the doorknob and she was carrying a water bottle for Yasmine in the other when Sergeant Winston called out to her.

“Knight, wait!” Winston sounded winded, and when she turned around, his face was red and his brow was sweaty, and he was panting. “Is it too much to ask for you to come to me? No, I have to go chasing you around the station. What is the update on the Deer Glen homicide?”

“There’s not a lot to say yet.” Madison slid a sideways glance to Terry.

Winston glanced at Terry, too, then back at Madison. He drew a pointed finger between them. “I saw that look. What aren’t you telling me?”

“The victim was Jimmy Bates,” Madison said nonchalantly.

Winston screwed up his brow. “Why does that name sound familiar?”

“He’s the man who served twenty-five years for killing my grandfather.” There, she’d delivered the facts with cool detachment.

Winston’s eyes snapped into alignment with Madison’s. “You should probably be taken off the case.”

“No.” She stood firm, peacocking her stance. “There’s no reason for that.”

He squared his shoulders. “Last I knew, I was the one to call the shots, Detective.”

“Listen, there’s no reason to take me off this case. I didn’t even know my grandfather.”

“He was still your grandfather,” the sarge said. “That makes this case personal.”

She wanted to counter with the fact that her grandfather had died nine years before she was born, but the defense fell flat even in her head. Instead, she locked her jaw and tilted up her chin. It was probably best that she remain quiet, but the sergeant seemed to be expecting her to say something.

“The man served his time,” she said.

Winston turned to Terry. “What are your thoughts on the matter?”

“If Madison says she has things under control, then she does.”

“But she didn’t say she has things under control.” Winston studied Madison. “Do you?”

She flashed him a cocky grin. “I like to think so.”

“I’m sure you do,” Winston stated sourly and pointed to the closed door. “Who’s in there? A suspect?”

“It’s Yasmine Stone, a woman who Bates was sleeping with,” Madison began. “She’s the one who found his body.”

Winston nodded. “Does she look good for the murder?”

Madison’s heart pounded. The similarities between Lillian Norton’s and Jimmy Bates’s murders crashed together in her mind. Her legs began to buckle thinking about Constantine being back in town, but she managed to muster her strength without warranting the men’s attention. “It’s too early to say.”


~ Author Bio ~

CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.

Connect with CAROLYN ARNOLD Online:

Website – http://carolynarnold.net/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Carolyn_Arnold

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolynArnold

And don’t forget to sign up for her newsletter for up-to-date information on release and special offers at http://carolynarnold.net/newsletters.

 


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“Kindred Spirits: A Romantic Comedy About Love, Life and the Afterlife” by Whitney Dineen #Excerpt


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Excerpt:

The nicest thing Philippa could say about Declan was that he wasn’t horrid. And truth be told, that was a nice thing considering how many unpleasant first encounters she’d had in the last fifteen years.

Sephra and Pip met at the Cock and Wing at six o’clock so they could get settled at a table and order a drink before the men arrived. They wanted to make sure they’d claimed first dominion so as to make their little drama of an “accidental meeting” appear more plausible. Of course, since Liam and Sephra were married, any chance of the get-together appearing completely unplanned was pretty slim, but Pip hoped at least not to appear complicit. As it turns out, it didn’t matter.

Liam and Declan strolled through the front door at five after seven, and by then Sephra was so mad she was seeing red. They were supposed to be there no later than ten past six and she’d been working herself into a lather ever since.

Pip was in the loo when the men walked in, so she missed most of the scene that followed. Sephra leapt to her feet in front of her husband and snapped, “You’re late!”

Liam, who tried to keep up the charade for Declan’s sake, responded, “Hello, pet, did we have plans tonight? I was just going to grab a drink with my mate, Declan, here.”

Trying to regain her composure, his wife replied, “No, no, we didn’t have plans, I just wanted to surprise you, that’s all.” Then she indicated the free chairs at their table and added, “Why don’t you join us?”

Declan piped in with, “Us? Who’re you here with?”

“Oh, just my friend, Philippa, she’s in the ladies’.”

Declan put his brief case down next to his chair and spoke directly to his co-worker, “Right, then, so is this some kind of fix up?”

“No, no, no, nothing like that, mate,” Liam responded. “Wh . . . wh . . . why in the world would you think we were setting you up?” If his friend was somehow dim enough to believe the obvious farce, the stuttering was a surefire indicator that boldface lying was afoot.

Declan hailed a passing waiter and ordered a pint before asking, “Is she pretty, at least?”

That’s when Pip walked up. There was no way she could miss the strange tension in the air. In fact, it was so thick she could have cut it with a chop stick. Sephra was rocking in her chair, side-to-side like she was having some kind of psychotic break and Liam was overacting to the point of melodrama as he tried to appear both shocked and delighted by her arrival.

Declan was the only seemingly sane one at the table. As he got to his feet to pull Pip’s chair out, he asked, “So are you in on the setup, poppet, or are you as much of a victim as I am?”


Kindred Spirits coverTitle: Kindred Spirits

Author: Whitney Dineen

Genre: Chicklit / Romance

Dashing and successful, Richard Bingham has been voted one of the top ten bachelors in New York City. After unwittingly offending a reporter from Manhattan Life magazine, he finds himself on the receiving end of an article that makes his quest of finding the perfect mate nearly impossible.

After one dating disaster too many, Richard decides it’s time to seek professional help, so he signs up for the matchmaking services of the East Side Yenta.

Philippa Fielding is single and searching for love in London, but her accidental profession of “Message Deliverer from the Great Beyond” puts most men right off.

Will Pip’s new “Spirit Helper,” Bertram, be able to set her on the course for true love with a message for Richard?

Matchmaking, misunderstandings, and mayhem abound in this fast-paced romantic comedy about love, life, and the afterlife!

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~ Author Bio ~

Whitney DineenWhitney Dineen is a multi-award-winning author of romantic comedies, non-fiction humor, and middle reader fiction. When she’s not spinning stories, Whitney’s raising her young daughters, wrangling chicken, or eating french fries, not necessarily in that order.

Links

Website: https://whitneydineen.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Whitney-Dineen-11687019412/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WhitneyDineen

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Whitney-Dineen/e/B00N8LK2OW

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8145525.Whitney_Dineen


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“The One Apart: A Novel” by Justine Avery #Excerpt


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The One Apart coverTitle: The One Apart

Author: Justine Avery

Genre: Paranormal

Only one obstacle stands in his way of enjoying a normal life. He remembers—every life he’s lived before.

Tres is about to be born… with the biggest burden any has ever had to bear. He is beginning again—as an ageless adult trapped in an infant body.

He and his teenage mother face life filled with extraordinary challenges as they strive to protect, nurture, and hide how truly different he is. But Tres alone must solve the greatest mystery of all: who is he? The answer is linked to the one question he’s too afraid to ask: why am I?

In his quest, Tres discovers that all is considerably more interconnected and dynamic than he could ever imagine—and fraught with far more danger. He cannot hide from the unseen threat stalking him since his birth.

Life as he knows it—as all know it—is in peril. And Tres is the only one aware.

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Book Excerpts

The One Apart by Justine Avery – Excerpt 1

Tres felt his body abruptly drop around him with overbearing weight, encapsulating him once again.

The mental images, the overpowering memories, finally faded. Only an ominous stillness remained.

Every cell within him began to twitch, infusing with energy—even as he felt immobile. Every joint, tendon, and bone ached under the pressure of being alive.

A deep sadness engulfed him. He pondered possible reasons. And, just as quickly, he was distracted by the presence of his own simple thoughts.

Thoughts. He realized his own thinking.

This mind—certain of its own newness—desired to explore, feel, do, be. Tres opened his eyes—tried to open his eyes. He found his eyelids fused shut.

He opened his mouth. Thick, warm syrup seeped inside his swallow. Intense fear washed over him, even as he knew exactly where—and how—he was.

Oh, no.

Tres was aware, more aware than any had ever been. In this moment, he knew everything—and yet, nothing.

He was beginning again.

The One Apart by Justine Avery – Excerpt 2

A casual knock pre-empted the arrival of an attending nurse. Sancha heard the sounds of a metal cart rolled in, its wheels locked in place at her bedside. She took a quick puff of air and released it as the knuckles of her fists began to turn white.

She heard a rustling of linens, then Maria leaning toward her from her chair on the opposite side of the bed.

Something heavy and warm was laid against Sancha’s arm.

“Sancha…” Maria pleaded this time. “Please.

Sancha squirmed against the uncomfortable pressure on her arm.

“I can’t let you live the rest of your life,” Maria whispered, “knowing you never even saw him.”

Sancha swallowed. Her breathing quickened. She rolled her lips between her teeth. And she opened her eyes—as slowly as humanly possible.

The brightest pair of crystalline blue eyes stared back at her.

They blinked tenderly, giving away how new to blinking they actually were. Their steady gaze pierced straight through to something rooted within Sancha.

The eyes blinked again, temporarily cutting off the intense connection before opening again to resume it. Sancha rested on her bed in silence, mesmerized by the novice rhythm of blinking resembling Morse code.

Every muscle in her body relaxed. Her mouth began to form an unthinkable smile. She couldn’t help herself.

The baby—her baby—beamed at her with his big, round eyes and flooded her with the total contentment and perfect peace that wafts only from brand-new life.

 

 


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Enter for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card or a digital copy of The One Apart!

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~ Author Bio ~

Justine AveryJustine Avery is an award-winning author of stories large and small for all. Born in the American Midwest and raised all over the world, she is inherently an explorer, duly fascinated by everything around her and excitedly noting the stories that abound all around. As an avid reader of all genres, she weaves her own stories among them all. She has a predilection for writing speculative fiction and story twists and surprises she can’t even predict herself.

Avery has either lived in or explored all 50 states of the union, over 36 countries, and all but one continent; she lost count after moving 30-some times before the age of 20. She’s intentionally jumped out of airplanes and off the highest bungee jump in New Zealand, scuba dived unintentionally with sharks, designed websites, intranets, and technical manuals, bartered with indigenous Panamanians, welded automobile frames, observed at the Bujinkan Hombu Dojo in Noba, Japan, and masterminded prosperous internet businesses—to name a few adventures. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree that life has never required, and at age 28, she sold everything she owned and quit corporate life—and her final “job”—to freelance and travel the world as she always dreamed of. And she’s never looked back.

Aside from her native English, Avery speaks a bit of Japanese and a bit more Spanish, her accent is an ever-evolving mixture of Midwestern American with notes of the Deep South and indiscriminate British vocabulary and rhythm, and she says “eh”—like the Kiwis, not the Canadians. She currently lives near Los Angeles with her husband, British film director Devon Avery, and their three adopted children: Becks, Sam, and Lia. She writes from wherever her curiosity takes her.

Avery loves to connect with fellow readers and creatives, explorers and imaginers, and cordially invites you to say “hello”—or konnichiwa.

www.JustineAvery.com

Twitter: @Justine_Avery

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“Just Like the Bronte Sisters” by Laurel Osterkamp #Excerpt2 #Giveaway


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Just Like the Bronte Sisters coverTitle: Just Like the Bronte Sisters

Author: Laurel Osterkamp

Genre: Women’s Fiction/NA/Magical Realism

Sisters Skylar and Jo Beth adore skiing and they virtually share the same soul. After an accident, Jo Beth flees to Brazil, leaving Skylar behind in Colorado to obsessively read the Brontë sisters. While abroad, Jo Beth meets Mitch and her life takes some unexpected turns until tragedy leads free-spirited Mitch right into Skylar’s empty arms. With their Heathcliff/Catherine romance in full swing, Skylar wants to trust Mitch, but did he harm her sister? Loving Mitch could make Skylar lose everything. Just Like the Brontë Sisters is an unconventional romantic page-turner inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel, full of magical realism, literary references, a ghost, and some healthy doses of suspense.

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Excerpt #2

Mitch used tweezers to not-so-gently remove all the glass from Jo Beth’s skin. They sat in the bathroom, her atop the toilet with its lid down, and Mitch on the floor, his back leaning against the edge of the tub as he picked out the glass piece by piece, shard by shard, dropping each one into the wastebasket.

Occasionally he’d look up and his wide, dark eyes pooled with distress.

Jo Beth couldn’t keep silent. “Mitch, I swear that she started it. Magda hit me with that spoon and then she cut herself to make it seem like it was my fault.”

Mitch’s chest heaved up and down. He kept his eyes on her knees. “Jo Beth, you have to stop.”

“But I’m telling the truth.”

“Jo Beth!” His inhale was sharp like he’d just been hit. “Once the baby is born, we’ll leave. I don’t care where we go, but we’ll figure something out. Until then, you have to keep it together.”

“She’s still in love with you, Mitch.” Jo Beth could say this as loud as she wanted because Magda was out, having taken herself to the emergency room after Mitch said that her cut probably needed stitches.

Mitch vehemently shook his head. “No. It’s not like that. She dumped me.”

“Wait, what?” Jo Beth felt her brain synapses coil tightly in confusion. “I thought you said that your breakup was mutual.”

He dug the tweezers into the base of her ankle, right where some glass was lodged. Suddenly Jo Beth felt like he was playing that board game, Operation, and she was as real to him as the clownish cartoon character who needs gas bubbles removed from his stomach.

“No,” Mitch replied. “She decided it was time after I lost my ability to see through the blood-red cloud that surrounds her. That’s what happened.”

“Ouch!” Jo Beth yanked her foot away. His excavation attempts were just too vigorous. “What are you talking about? What blood-red cloud?”

Mitch grabbed her foot back and held it tight as he mined for more glass. “The one that surrounds Magda?” His tone was condescending and impatient, almost as bad as his nursing skills. “Don’t tell me you don’t see it.”

“Mitch…”

He wouldn’t look at her but stayed focused on his task.

“Mitch, you’re honestly telling me that a blood-red cloud hovers around Magda?”

“Yeah.” He sighed. “I realize that not everyone can see it, but I can. I’ve always been able to see things that other people can’t. My ability is more a curse than a blessing.”

The pressure behind Jo Beth’s eyes was uncomfortable, just like the pricking of Mitch’s tweezers. Could he possibly be for real? “Why haven’t you ever mentioned this before?”

“Magda wanted it to be our secret,” he said simply. “But things changed, she broke up with me, and it was fine. There was no tidal wave, no crisis, she didn’t disappear, and we stayed friends.” Mitch finally dislodged the last pieces of glass and after depositing them in the trash can, he dropped the tweezers like he was dropping a microphone. “And I love you, Jo. But you have to stop acting so crazy.”

She had to stop acting so crazy? Jo Beth just nodded and gripped the edges of the toilet beneath her. How could one little statement from this man change everything?

she kissed him on the cheek. “Thanks for taking such good care of me.”

Jo Beth went to bed and lay there until she heard Magda come in, and then there was the sound of their voices speaking in low, romantic tones. Were they kissing? Had they been intimate with each other this entire time? She was surprised to realize that she didn’t even care. But when Jo Beth was sure they were too consumed with each other’s company to worry about her, she got out her cell phone, hid under the covers so her voice would be muffled, and called Skylar. It was the middle of the night where she was, so Jo Beth thought for sure she’d answer, but it went straight to voicemail.

“Sky,” Jo Beth whispered. “You have to believe me because Mom doesn’t. Magda and Mitch have charmed her into believing that they’re innocent. But I know the truth. Magda is an evil bitch and Mitch is crazy.” She took a deep breath, trying not to feel claustrophobic underneath the covers. “I’m actually sort of relieved,” she continued. “Maybe Mitch actually does love me. Maybe’s it’s not his fault that he’s insane. I don’t know how long he’s been like this, maybe his whole life, but it explains everything. It explains why I can’t trust him.” She tried to keep her tears out of her voice. She had to stay strong. “Skylar, where are you? Why didn’t you come? I have to get myself and my baby away from Mitch. Once she’s born I’m going to leave and I’ll need your help. Promise that you’ll help me.” She took a deep sniff. “We need to talk in person. I don’t know how that will happen, but just know that I love you. You’re my favorite and I love you best of all.”

She pressed end, emerged from the covers, and sat up. Then she reached under the bed and removed the knife she’d kept beneath the mattress for over two weeks. Jo Beth gripped it in her sweaty hand, wondering if she was capable of murder, or if her subconscious just liked to pretend. Hell. She was pretty sure she was capable. The bigger question was whether she was up for the effort that murder required. Exhaustion slowly dripped through her, turning her muscles and mind to slush. She must have fallen asleep with the knife still in her grip because after what seemed like hours, she woke to Mitch’s face looming above hers.

“Why are you holding a knife?” His voice was sharp, like the blade she clutched.

“Huh?”

He took the knife from her and her breath caught. If he wanted to kill her, right here, right now, there was no stopping him. “Are you afraid of me, Jo Beth?”

She pushed him away and struggled into a sitting position. “No, Mitch. I’m not afraid of you. But I think we should break up.”

“What?”

“As soon as I have the baby I’m going home with my mom.”

Mitch closed his eyes and fell back against the bed. “You can’t do that,” he whispered.

She took the knife from his hand and he let it go without protest. “Yeah, I can.”

His eyes rolled toward the ceiling. “So much water,” he said, holding out his palms as if to catch a nonexistent flood. “Like the roof is crying.”

“Mitch…” She placed her hand on his shoulder. He sat up abruptly and swiped back the knife. “Why can’t we just be okay? Is that too much to ask?”

Suddenly Jo Beth was afraid, but not of Mitch. There was a flood, but it wasn’t coming from the roof. It came from between her legs. “Mitch!” she cried. “Stop being delusional. My water just broke.”


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Laurel OsterkampLaurel Osterkamp is a Kindle Scout/award-winning author of women’s fiction and suspense. Her “day job” is as at Columbia Heights High School, where she teaches creative writing, college writing, and AP Lit. She resides in Minneapolis with her husband, two chatty children, an overweight cat, a gecko, and a hissing cockroach (don’t ask). Her other loves include chocolate, jogging, and boots.

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Website: http://laurel.pmibooks.com/


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“It Feels Good to Feel Good” by Cheryl Meyer #Excerpt



Section 5   Toxic Minds

Chapter 2   Toxic Relationships

Dousing the flame of inflammation:

THE BIG TAKEAWAYS ON TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS

  1. Staying in a toxic relationship makes the stress continual, whether it’s a toxic love relationship, a toxic friendship or a toxic parent.
  2. Try to talk to this loved one to improve the relationship and put a plan together. If it can’t happen, either walk away (friendship or love relationship) or set boundaries (parent.).  It’s literally killing you.
  3. When you are suffering from inflammation, you need to turn your loving attention to yourself, to get well.
  4. Reach out to close friends for loving support if you have ended a toxic love relationship. You need unconditional love right now to improve your health.
  5. Walk away with no regrets.

 

“You don’t ever have to feel guilty about removing toxic people from your life.  It doesn’t matter whether someone is a relative, romantic interest, employer, a childhood friend, or a new acquaintance- you don’t have to make room for people who cause you pain or make you feel small.  Its one thing if a person owns up to their behavior and makes an effort to change, But is a person disregards your feelings, ignores your boundaries, and ‘continues’ to treat you in a harmful way, they need to go.”  Daniell Koepke

Toxic relationships can make you ill, whether it’s a toxic love relationship, a toxic friendship, a toxic employer, or a toxic relative.

Significant Other Relationships

I was in a relationship for nine years that started out healthy.  He helped me start my jewelry business; he wrote my operating system, and he paid for all of my food and all of my entertainment for years while I was getting started.  I am very grateful to him, and I loved him very much.  In the beginning, and then in many of the years that followed, he was extraordinarily good to me.

He loved to go out to expensive restaurants.  But after

He didn’t want me to cook home cooked meals.  He didn’t want me to dictate what he was going to eat each night.

He was upset that I had gained weight, a lot of weight, and he blamed me for the weight he had gained. (we had eaten our way through Pasadena, and he had gained weight too.)

Furthermore, after time,  this guy didn’t appreciate me for who I was, he only saw me for who I was not.

He had recently lost a lot of money in the stock market and had become sullen and difficult to be around.  He started dating other women, unbeknownst to me.

These were all just symptoms of the underlying toxicity that was growing.

I would have never left him when he was down, but he did me a big favor when he left me.

There is no doubt that he broke my heart, but as I came out the other side of my pain, I realized I could start to deal with the pain my body was experiencing; that the inflammation in my body had begun. I could start to eat the way I was supposed to for my diabetes and sugar control; I could start to take care of me.  In the end, I understand that he did me a big favor, and the break-up set me on the road to health.

In the first eight months, I lost 40 pounds.

I took a class on how to date from Allison Armstrong (an amazing guru with very sensible advice on dating) and nine months later I met an amazing guy by doing a profile on the dating service Our Time.com. ‘s seminars, I wrote that I was looking for a guy that would intellectually stimulate me, (John is a statistician), that was kind and had high ethics, and he needed to be open to eating home cooked food that was organic and healthy.  He needed to want to live an entirely healthy lifestyle.

The guy that answered lived 10 minutes away from me and two years ago, I married him.

John just wants me to be happy.  He was married for 42 years to a therapist, and she died from cancer after being ill for five years. He loved her very much.  He was ready for a new life experience, and lucky me, he chose to find that experience with me.

He is a true partner and supports me in all that I do.  He is easy going, and he sees me for who I am and doesn’t criticize me for who I am not.

He completely supports me in my quest for health, and he has lost 60 pounds in the time we have been together.  He considers himself my first Health Coaching success.

Read more in It Feels Good to Feel Good, learn to eliminate toxins, reverse inflammation and feel great again.


Cheryl MeyerCheryl Meyer aka Cheryl M Health Muse and her book, “It Feels Good to Feel Good, learn about toxins, reducing inflammation and feel great again.”

Five years ago, Cheryl got sick, really sick.  It was a perfect storm: she was working 24/7; her long-term relationship imploded; economic changes slowed her business; she got Type II diabetes; she was taking care of everyone else; her stress was out of control.

Then one morning … viola, Cheryl woke up in incredible pain that didn’t go away. Her doctor didn’t recognize what it was and thought it was in her head.

Cheryl didn’t want more pills, so she embarked on her own journey to find wellness.  When she started, she didn’t even know what she was looking for.  She was stunned to find toxins in every aspect of her life that were poisoning her.  She discovered the Functional Medicine community.  She was tested for food sensitivities.

This book shares everything that Cheryl learned to reverse her inflammation and put her autoimmune diseases at bay.  This is the get well manual that she wishes had been available when she got sick. The book is about first identifying that toxins that were a significant cause of her leaky gut, then she identified what the toxins were and finally she shares what she replaced them with. She addresses the toxins in our food, in our cosmetics, our cleaning supplies, our kitchen utensils, our water, our over the counter drugs, and even in our heads, stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, lack of movement and finally toxic relationships.  She wants to help others find a path to wellness.

Cheryl is now relatively pain-free, but still considers herself a work in progress.  She avoids the foods and spices on her specific, long list of problem foods.  She has purged toxins.  She has released stress and nagging worry.  She has learned to find joy in movement.  She has found love.  She is grateful.

Cheryl believes that following her journey will help you live a long, happy and pain-free life.
In order to help others, Cheryl has become a Holistic Health Coach, certified by the Institute of Integrative Nutrition©.

Links

https://cherylmhealthmuse.com/book

https://www.facebook.com/cherylmhealthmuse/

https://www.facebook.com/It-Feels-Good-To-Feel-Good-reverse-inflammation-1277191688990457/

https://twitter.com/goldenathena7

https://www.instagram.com/cherylmhealthmuse/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/cherylmeyer/

My Blog
https://cherylmhealthmuse.com/blog/

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