Happy Tuesday my decadent delights!! Today I have Susan (Regan) visiting with me and four other blogs to bring you this fantastic giveaway and a sneak peek inside the second book in her series: Reflections. Let's take a look:
Whisper Cape is Book 1:
Tomato juice splattered everywhere as the bottle hit the gray tile floor. Maia gasped at the shattered glass, unable to tear her eyes away; the thick red liquid pooled at her feet like a stagnant river of blood.
“I’m sorry, Manny, the jar just slipped out of my hand,” she said, sensing the old man’s presence at her side and half-wondering how he’d gotten across the aisle so quickly.
“Don’t you worry, sweetheart.”
“I’m so clumsy lately. I can’t seem to hold on to anything these days.”
“Are you hurt? Did any glass cut you?” He took her by the elbow, leading her away from the debris.
“No, I’m fine. Let me help you clean up.” She glanced back at the slimy red liquid mixed with pieces of sharp, ragged-edged glass, making the aisle resemble a murder scene from some B-rated detective show on TV.
“No, no. I’ll get Jeff to clean up. He’ll be here in about five minutes. Now be careful where you step.” He placed a large orange cone near the edge of the area to ward off any unsuspecting customers from the slippery mess.
“Thanks, Manny. I am so sorry—I’ll pay for the juice.”
“Not to worry. A bottle of juice gets broken in here at least once a week.” He winked and managed to bring a smile to her fretful face.
Good old genial Manny, the master of calm, owner of the small seaside grocery store—the only food store in Whisper Cape—and everybody’s grandfather. He had a particular soft spot for pretty women. Except right now, Maia didn’t feel pretty. She felt fat and clumsy. Determined to stay out of maternity clothes for at least another month, she tugged at the waist of her once loose old gray sweat pants and rubbed at the indentation the elastic etched on her tummy. Even the normally beautiful, long, golden-brown curls she’d tucked up in her green wool hat refused to cooperate this morning as they constantly slipped out and fell in her eyes. She walked with Manny toward the other end of the store, and as he veered off to the checkout area, Maia continued on to the deli section.
The small store was quiet except for a group of teenage girls giggling over the cover of a DVD. A group of young men hung around outside, looking in at the girls. School would start soon and they’d all be on their way. Maia MacKenna glanced at them and smiled, remembering what it was like to be that age—innocent, not a care in the world. She placed her hand over the small bulge in her abdomen. Life would never be the same for her.
At this time of the morning, Manny’s Beachside Market—aptly named as one could hear the pounding of the surf whenever the front door opened—was often the main attraction of the kids from the nearby middle school and high school. The small-town grocer managed to carry all the essentials, from sunscreen to meats and produce, even a small variety of wines and beer. The refrigerated glass case Maia perused housed a few selections of prime cut steaks and marinated pot roasts and the deli department consisted of popular cold cuts and cheeses; nothing fancy, just the basics. The produce counter offered a variety of heads of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, some apples, oranges—enough to get by for residents and families visiting the area for a few days. Almost too small for the word “market,” Manny’s place happened to be the closest grocery store within five miles of the cozy cottage where Maia lived with Gerry Briden, the love of her life and the father of her unborn child.
Hoping to finish the shopping before her doctor’s appointment later that morning, she stood facing a cleverly stacked display of tomatoes contemplating how many she’d need as something in the corner of the adjacent deli case caught her eye. A billow of steam escaped from a small crack at the bottom, and she found herself mesmerized as the dewy cloud rose and dissipated, rose and dissipated.
A voice, a soft whisper, came from somewhere behind her. “A precious cargo.”
She turned at the sound and looked into the face of a sweet old woman examining a head of lettuce. She didn’t recall ever seeing the patron before, and yet … there was something familiar about her. Her long black skirt, with a delicate pattern of purple swirls, hung several inches below her dark gray coat. The old woman’s hair, like strands of silver silk twisted into a braid, hung down the center of her back. Her eyes, though old, were brilliant, a rich shade of brown with little specks of gold.
The woman must be mumbling to herself. Maia shrugged and turned her attention back to the tomatoes. Her niece, Addie MacKenna, was coming over for dinner tonight with her boyfriend, the two having just returned from a well-deserved month-long holiday. Maia smiled, thinking how happy they were, but her lips tightened a bit as she remembered how they’d been in such danger going up against that sick psychopath who’d murdered Maia’s older brother a little over a year ago. Maia sighed, still in awe of Addie’s power, how she and Cael destroyed Eidolon, torching him down to nothing more than a pile of ashes.
Maia placed two plump red tomatoes—well as plump and as red as you could get this time of year in Whisper Cape—in a plastic bag and placed the bag in her cart. She stepped to the cucumbers and heard the voice again.
Whisper Cape is Book 1:
Cael stood, held out his hand for Addie, who took it and stood. “Grab your jacket.” He wrapped his arm around her, pulled her in close, cupped her chin in his hand, and tilted her head up toward his, their lips inches apart. “Do you trust me?” His voice was husky, his breath warm and her knees were about to turn to jelly.
“Yes, I think so. Do I have a choice?”
“No. Close your eyes,” he whispered.
She did as he requested as a weird sensation of air swept through every pore, every cell of her body.
“You can open your eyes now, you’re safe.”
Addie opened her eyes. He still held her in his arms, which was good because she almost fell over from the shock. She blinked as she looked around, recognizing Cael’s rented beach house, the red leather sofa and marble-topped coffee table from earlier that afternoon. It was dark except for the moonlight trickling in through the large window, giving the room a dreamy ambiance.
“How did we ...?”
Before she could finish her question, he lifted her chin up to his face and pressed his lips down on hers.
Pushing away, she turned her face from his. “How is this possible? We were just standing in my apart ...”
Without answering, he resumed kissing her. She started to pull away but then relaxed and tangled her fingers in his hair, pulling him closer to her.
After enjoying the kiss for a few seconds, Addie came to her senses and shoved her hands against his chest, stopping the kiss. “Wait. You need to explain ...”
Cael ignored her, silencing her with his lips once more. Addie lost herself in his tender embrace, unable to focus on anything else, which she knew was completely wrong. Every instinct told her she should be afraid, but she didn’t care.
His mouth traveled down to her neck as she raised her head to accept the slight graze of his teeth and titillating touch of his tongue just below her earlobe, sending quick pulses of excitement though her body.
She sighed, “You can’t keep silencing me with your kisses.”
“It’s working so far,” he whispered, then brought his mouth back to hers, attempting another kiss, but this time she managed to turn her face aside.
“Please, stop. I need to know what’s going on.”
They stood for a moment, both lost in the sweet embrace.
He sighed. “If you insist.”
“How did we get here?”