Don’t Store Your Christmas “Spirit” Away Just Yet…

Book 4 in my Yesterday's News Paranormal Cozy Mystery series is Available Today!

The spirits in my upcoming Yule Tale are certainly giving it to the hero and heroine, but that's only because they've seen a past injustice and want to right it. Maybe the real lesson in this kind of story is that no-one is ever what they seem. We all have secrets we'd like to keep from others. Some secrets are insignificant…some are deadly. The question really is, who's guarding what kind of secret?

It's an age-old tale…a bunch of people are trapped inside a mansion with a killer. But in this case our hero and heroine must figure out if the killer hails from the ether, or is the flesh and blood kind. The outcome might be the same, but the search is certainly made more difficult with a spiritual nemesis. Fortunately for the trapped potential victims, they have friends in the ether too. And if they're very lucky, their ghostly friends can help them trap a killer!

So what does Protector Spirit Joss, a cowboy from the pages of America's history, think? Let's take a look at his response when our heroine, Anna Yesterday, asks him if he can cast any light on who might have ended Christmas early for their victim:

Joss scratched his head. “Not a clue, darlin’. Tell ya the truth, this whole thing’s got me a might all overish.”
Anna sighed. “I’m pretty squigged out myself, Joss. Have you managed to find the poltergeist?”
“Nope. The poor g’hal’s up and absquatulated. But unless I’m a coot, Miss Penny’s not the killer. I’d bet my hat we’re looking for a flesh and blood varmint on this one.”
“I don’t necessarily disagree. But, since we all seem to be prisoners in this house, that doesn’t make me feel any better.”

***

So Joss is as much in the dark as Pratt (our handsome hero) and Anna (our lovely heroine) about who gave the victim a deadly Christmas present. But that doesn't mean he isn't in for the fight. As shown in the clip below, Joss takes his job as Anna's protector spirit very seriously:

***

Something slammed against the outside of the door. The ghostly hands loosened around Anna’s throat and she dropped to the floor, coughing and gasping for breath. The door trembled under another blow and flew inward, admitting a roiling force of manic fog and light into the room. The force spun across the room like a cyclone, a roar of rage flaring from it like a flash of light. It slammed into the ghostly presence hovering over Anna, shoving it back and reducing a small wooden chair to splinters under its force. Anna pushed to her feet and stumbled out of the room, her throat burning painfully as she dragged tortured breath after tortured breath through it. She collapsed to the ground, her gaze locked on the battle raging across from her.

Footsteps slammed up the nearby stairwell and Pratt’s deep voice, fierce with obvious terror, somehow managed to rise above the cacophony. Anna tried to call out to him…to tell him she was okay…but words wouldn’t emerge from her damaged throat. He came around the corner and thundered toward her, his gaze locked onto her despite the violence being perpetrated in the small room across the hall. “Oh my god! Are you all right?” One of his big hands lifted toward her throat and his gaze filled with anger. “Who did that to you?”

Anna shook her head, pointing to the stairs. All she wanted to do was get out of there, away from the poltergeist with the hate-filled eyes.

Fortunately, Pratt understood. He reached down and helped her to her feet, lifting her into his arms and hurrying down the narrow hall.

Bill thundered up the stairs as they were starting down. Pratt shook his head. “Turn around, Bill. You don’t want to get in the middle of what’s going on up there.”

Their friend skimmed one last look past them as a particularly violent crash sounded, and then turned on his heel and retreated to the kitchen. Nobody spoke until they were out of the stairwell, the door closed and locked.

Anna almost laughed as Bill turned the deadbolt on the flimsy wood door. Even if a door could contain what was raging above their heads, the lock holding it closed certainly wouldn’t.

Pratt barked out an order for tea with honey and eased her into a chair. She heard running water and then something heavy being settled onto the stove. A beat later flame flared to life under what Anna could only presume was a tea pot. She tried to talk and was reduced to painful coughing instead.

Pratt placed a hand over hers, squeezing it gently as he dropped into the chair across from her. “Don’t talk. Just rest until we get some tea into you.”

Anna shook her head, shooting a worried gaze toward the ceiling as the windows rattled under another crash.

Pratt’s gaze followed hers and he frowned. “Joss?”

Anna nodded, giving him a slight smile.

“And the other one?”

She shuddered violently. A fragrant cup of tea appeared on the table in front of her. She looked up into Scarlett’s worried face. “What happened up there?” her friend asked.

Anna sipped carefully at the steaming cup, closing her eyes as the honey sweetened liquid coated her sore throat. A few sips later, she thought it might be safe to speak again. Her voice was husky but held. “I don’t know. But she was really mad whoever she was.”

Pratt and Bill shared a look. Pratt leaned closer, keeping his voice low. “You said she. Can you describe her?”

Anna shook her head, glancing toward Scarlet as the other woman sat down next to her. “This is delicious. Is that ginger I’m tasting?”

“Yes. It’s good for the throat.” Scarlett wrapped her arms around herself and rubbed her arms. “This is ghosts isn’t it? The killing? The doors?”

When all eyes widened at the doors reference, Scarlett clarified. “I tried to go outside…” Guilt flared in her pretty eyes. “Not to leave or anything. I just needed some air. When the first door wouldn’t budge I tried the others. Then I tried some windows.” She shuddered, looking as freaked out as Anna did. “They aren’t going to let us out are they?”

“Eventually they’ll have to,” Bill said, his voice trailing off as she turned even more pale. “I mean, what kind of power does it take to do something like this?”

Scarlett’s chest started to heave as panic set in and Pratt threw Bill a dirty look. “We’re going to get out of here soon, Scarlett. Bill and I just need to figure out what's going on.”

“And then what? You think the ghosts will just let us go? What makes you think that’s even what they want. Maybe they plan to kill all of us like they did poor Mr. Arnout.”

Pratt’s face tightened. Anna realized in that instant he wasn’t sure at all. “I have someone on the inside who will find out what’s going on,” she told Scarlett. Even as she said the words, Anna wondered if Joss would be able to suss out the problem. Currently it seemed all he could do to contain it. And barely at that.

***

How did a Christmas party go so horribly wrong? Why did something that started with such good intentions turn deadly? Was it just happenstance? An opportunity seen and taken? Or were there more devious machinations involved?
Whatever…or whoever…was behind what happened in Nelson Manor on Christmas Eve in Crocker, Indiana, there's only one thing for certain. It should be a whole lot of fun getting to the bottom of it!

Past Sins Meet Present Company…

It's an old fashioned Christmas at Nelson Manor. Duncan Nelson has invited several of his friends to stay in the newly refurbished manor and he plans to make Christmas as much like the ones the family celebrated in its heyday as possible.

But when things go awry and the guests inside the manor become trapped, there might be more than plum pudding on the menu. Old misdeeds are coming back to haunt them. And murder just might become the main course.

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Posted in Historical Romance, Holiday, Horror, Mystery, New Release, Paranormal Mystery, Sneak Preview | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yules of Yesterday – Fun and Spooky Paranormal Cozy

Sins of the Past meet Present Company

 It's an old-fashioned Christmas at the Nelson's. Duncan has invited several of his friends in Crocker to stay in the newly refurbished Nelson Hall. He's feeling more himself now that he has Scarlett and Lissie around to keep him company, and he plans to make Christmas as much like the ones the family celebrated in its heyday as possible.

But when things go awry and the guests inside the Hall become trapped, there might be more than plum pudding on the menu. Old misdeeds are coming back to haunt them. And murder just might become the main course.

As the last soft, throaty notes drifted across the space, embedding themselves in Pratt’s brain and leaving it fuzzy and unfocused, he tried to remember how much he didn’t like the overly confident singer whose smoldering gaze seemed primed to turn all the women in the place, including Anna, into melted puddles of goo.

But as much as he wanted to hate the guy, Pratt had to admit he was a phenomenal talent. His rendition of Hallelujah rivaled even Pratt’s favorite acapella group. A feat he hadn’t thought possible. There was a moment of stunned silence as Arnout’s husky voice eased into silence. Then the room exploded into hearty applause. Beside him, Anna surged to her feet and, to his eternal shock, put two fingers between her lips and blew a whistle a sailor would be proud of. All around them, party goers jumped to their feet and applauded. The applause lasted a good three minutes and would have gone on longer if Arnout himself hadn’t very humbly asked them to stop.

Pratt hadn’t thought he could dislike the man more.

The realization made him laugh, shaking his head. It had been a while since he’d been so jealous of another man. He could admit when he was being petty. Arnout hadn’t done anything at all to earn Pratt’s ire. Except maybe put a few stars in Anna’s beautiful blue eyes. For that alone Pratt thought he could happily throttle the man.

“Isn’t he amazing?” Denise asked Anna.

“Phenomenal,” Anna said. She turned to smile at Pratt, clearly expecting him to share in her enthrallment. He managed a tight smile and a nod. “He’s good.”

“Good!?” Glynus said, clearly outraged. “He’s so far beyond good it’s ridiculous.”

Throwing Pratt a grimace over his girlfriend’s head, Bill said, “Yeah, ridiculous.”

“You guys are just jealous,” Anna said, nudging him with her elbow.

“I am. I admit it. The guy’s just too good to be true,” he reluctantly admitted.

Duncan walked to the front of the room and shook Arnout’s hand. “Thank you for that,” he told the other man. “I don’t know about everybody else, but I’m totally in the Christmas spirit now.”

Rabid applause met his statement and went on for another two minutes. Pratt wondered if anyone would notice if he left the room.

Anna whistled again, followed by several other whistles around the room.

Probably not.

A group of fans surrounded the singer and Pratt realized he had an out. “I should go get our bags out of the car.”

Anna nodded. “Would you like some help?”

He was sorely tempted. At least he’d have her all to himself for a moment. But he wasn’t about to tear her away from the warmth of the house. “It’s really snowing out there. You stay in here and keep warm.”

The smile she gave him almost took the sting out of having her making goo-eyes at the singer. “I’ll get us some coffee and see if there’s any more of that cake. You want some?”

He laughed. “Sure. But you know Pierce is gonna find out you had four pieces. He’ll probably quiz everybody.”

She wrinkled her pert little nose. “He will, won’t he? Little devil.”

Pratt couldn’t resist dropping a kiss on said nose. “He will.”

“I’ll just tell everybody it’s for you.”

“You do that. Hopefully I’ll get a bite of it?”

“Maybe one bite.”

Shaking his head, he strode out of the parlor and across the large entry way. The tree in front of the leaded glass windows sparkled with gold light, the candles strapped to its branches having been refreshed during the concert. Pratt had to admit, Duncan had done an amazing job of creating a historical likeness. The pictures he’d seen of Nelson Hall from the early 1800s were startlingly similar.

A haunting moan drifted to him from the area just behind the staircase. He turned toward the sound and blinked when he saw a beautiful woman leaning against the balustrade there, her silver gown a stunning mimicry of the same historical records Pratt had just been comparing to Duncan’s handiwork.

She wore a deep red sash around her unnaturally slim waist and her golden curls fell across a pale cheek as she dropped her head, one slender arm wrapped around her middle.

“I know someone who’ll be very jealous of your gown,” he told the woman.

Her head shot up, her wide, gray-blue gaze filled with surprise. “Please, she told him in a husky whisper…”

Pratt’s smile died. The woman was clearly upset. “Are you ill?”

She seemed to swoon a bit, her body sliding along the glossy mahogany of the stairway banister.

Pratt hurried forward as she turned boneless. Her eyes rolling back in her head, she sagged downward. That was when he noticed that the entire front of her gown was covered in a glistening red stain.

It wasn’t a sash. She was bleeding. Profusely.

He hurried forward, yelling for help as he ran in her direction. “Somebody call 911!”

Footsteps pounded into the entry hall behind him. Pratt barely took note of them. He was dropping to his knees beside the woman, his gaze locked on the seeping hole in her side. There was so much blood.

Too much.

And the woman lying on the floor was growing paler by the moment.

Her slender form blipped as he reached for her and Pratt stilled. She wasn’t getting paler…she was becoming more transparent.

“What the…”

A shrill scream lanced through the quiet space and the corpse at the bottom of the stairs disappeared on an icy whisper of air.

Footsteps danced lightly toward him just as another scream sounded. Pratt looked up and saw a round, shocked face peering through the uprights in the banister.

He knew that face.

Before he could consider what it meant, a worried voice called out. “Are you hurt?”

He turned to find Anna running toward him, her pretty face filled with worry.

A horrendous creaking sound made her stop and glance upward. The massive crystal chandelier wrenched away from the ceiling and canted downward, the crystals dancing manically.

Pratt’s heart stopped. He jumped to his feet. “Anna, run!”

The chandelier screamed again, another bolt giving way as it pulled farther away from the ceiling.

Too late. She wouldn’t get out of the way in time.

He screamed her name and took off running. She was staring up at the chandelier as if she couldn’t quite believe it was going to fall. Slowly, as Pratt yelled her name again, she looked at him, her eyes widening as she realized…

The last bolt holding the massive chandelier to the ceiling gave way with a heart-stopping shriek and Pratt’s gaze caught on hers as he hurtled in her direction.

He flung himself into the air but he knew even as his feet left the ground that he would be too late.

She was going to be killed.

And there was nothing he could do to stop it.

 

Would you like to read the rest? You can grab your copy at one of the following online etailers:

Amazon.com: http://samcheever.com/blog/yulesofyesterday

Amazon.ca: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B078M452YV

Amazon.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B078M452YV

Amazon.au: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B078M452YV

iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1328414200

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/yules-of-yesterday-sam-cheever/1127709089?ean=2940158866708

GooglePlay: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Sam_Cheever_Yules_of_Yesterday?id=l2VEDwAAQBAJ

Kobo Books: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/yules-of-yesterday

 

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Out of this World Romance!

Today's guest is the wonderful and talented Cynthia Sax, whose space romances are insta-favorites. If you love your Sci-fi romance hot and hunky, you should grab a copy of this box set!

Why I Write Insta-Love or Fated To Mate Stories by Cynthia Sax

In Dark Warlord, my sexy action-packed contribution to the awesome Alien Alphas box set, Batu, the barbarian hero, meets Genine, the human heroine, and instantly knows she is his gerel, the one being genetically compatible for him. Yep, it is instant attraction, if not love.

There is a reason I write insta-love or fated to mate stories. Writers are told to write what we know and love at first sight is the only type of romantic love I know. When I met my (now) Dear Wonderful Hubby, I knew instantly he was the man I was going to be with my entire life. He, magically, felt the same way about me. 25 wonderful years later, we’re still very much in love.

If that sounds like a wild story to you, you and I would have likely seen eye-to-eye on this before I met the Hubby. I didn’t believe in love at first sight either, thought it was a bunch of hooey. “People should be friends first,” I told my buddies. “Then, if they’re compatible, that will grow into love.” Yeah, they laughed their fool heads off when I fell in love at first sight. I had to eat my words, am still eating them. That story comes up at parties all the time.

Although I fell in love at first sight, our relationship moved slowly. I’m a cautious person, have reason to be so, and the Dear Wonderful Hubby understood that. He and I dated for five years before we married and moved in together. We got to know each other very well, talked about all matter of things, did become friends, best friends.

I think this bonding is important in insta-love romances also. The couple (or more) should have things in common, should fit together. Batu and Genine, for example, are two warriors. They understand that about each other, have that similar history, similar way of thinking. There are issues (one of the big ones being they have to battle each other to the death) but all relationships have challenges, even relationships built upon love at first sight.

What is your favorite fictional love at first sight story? What makes that couple (or more) right for each other?

 

Alien Alphas: Twenty-Three Naughty Sci-Fi Romance Novellas

Fierce warriors. Savage barbarians. Powerful warlords. 
All ready to claim their mates.

Alien Alphas is a collection of panty-melting sci-fi romances featuring dominant alien heroes, penned by New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling authors. This decadently naughty box set includes twenty-three ALL-NEW, stand-alone novellas full of hot alien alpha males, breathless passion, and reluctant surrender. Take an exhilarating trip beyond the stars with this limited time only bundle that’s sure to leave you turning the pages late into the night.

Featured authors: Cari Silverwood, Cynthia Sax, Renee Rose, Lee Savino, Addison Cain, Kallista Dane, Maren Smith, Ava Sinclair, Sue Lyndon, Emily Tilton, Ashe Barker, Korey Mae Johnson, Grace Goodwin, Ivy Barrett, Jane Henry, Jaye Peaches, Katie Douglas, Lili Zander, Loki Renard, Maria Monroe, Megan Michaels, Myra Danvers, Sara Fields, and Sophie Kisker

Publisher’s Note: The stories featured in this collection involve MF and MFM pairings. They include spankings and sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this box set.

Buy Links:

 Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0785FQ2BH/

Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/alien-alphas-grace-goodwin/1127581629

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/alien-alphas

Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=wURBDwAAQBAJ

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1321113956

 

About Cynthia Sax

USA Today bestselling author Cynthia Sax writes contemporary, SciFi and paranormal erotic romances. Her stories have been featured in Star Magazine, Real Time With Bill Maher, and numerous best of erotic romance top ten lists.

Sign up for her dirty-joke-filled release day newsletter and visit her on the web at www.CynthiaSax.com

Website:  http://cynthiasax.com/

Newsletter:   http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Facebook:  facebook.com/cynthia.sax

Twitter:  @CynthiaSax

Blog:  http://tasteofcyn.com/

Posted in Anthologies and Collections, Fantasy Romance, New Release, Paranormal Romance, Science Fiction | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment