Chaotic Halloween Fun by Sam Cheever!

Magical chaos, old enemies, new adversaries, and danger around every corner…I HATE this time of year!

Okay, I’ll admit it, this is my least favorite time of year. Yeah, I understand the enchantment of the season…I get that…but most people don’t have jobs that involve wrangling magic. During the last three months of the year, magical influences run rampant. And that means a lot more work for me.

And this year is the worst of all.

Why you ask?

Because I’m not only trying to wrangle the out-of-control magic artifacts flying around all over the place. This year, I also have to try to keep a magical cat and a talking frog out of trouble.

Goddess take the wheel.

Things are about to get really ugly.

Sam Cheever Gives you Frog and Cat – Oh, and Mystery!

Apple Trees and Frog Pee

It isn’t every day that you find yourself staring at a frog’s squishy butt bulging from the underside of a sink drain. I would have felt better if I’d believed it would never happen again. However, because I appeared to be frog-cursed, there was a strong possibility I’d eventually end up lying on my back under the sink, eyeing the posterior region of Mr. Slimy again.

Sighing, I gave the squishy bulk a tentative poke with my finger, earning a forlorn, “Ribbit!” for my efforts. Something trickled downward, hitting my cheek and dripping down to the paper towel I had draped under my head to keep “under the sink” cooties off my hair.

I realized, too late, what had just dripped on me.

“Argh!” I shoved out from under the sink and bent over while grabbing frantically for more paper towel to wipe frog pee off my cheek. “I can’t believe it!”

The figure lounging against my refrigerator grinned. “You shouldn’t poke a stressed frog, Naida.”

I glared at the source of almost all my problems.

Okay, I know I previously said that about Mr. Wicked, my adorable kitten who was probably better at being an artifact keeper than I was. But I’d reassessed the players and decided Rustin Quilleran, former witch and current frog squatter, was definitely more trouble than my sweet little kitten.

I mean, Wicked was curled up on his pillow, purring happily.

Rustin was driving a fat frog bus that got itself jammed in my drain and peed on my face.

I’ll let you do the math.

“Not funny. You need to keep a better lock on the contents of your bladder.”

His grin widened. “I think you have a mistaken view of my ability to control your wedged friend,” he told me. “I’m just a passenger on that particular bus.”

Which, normally I’d be happy about. I mean, when Rustin had gotten stuck in the frog because of a spell his horrible family had performed, I’d felt terrible. We’d tried everything to get him out of there. But, in the end, the evil Jacob Quilleran had interfered, making certain poor Rustin didn’t escape the fate Jacob had locked him into.

I still hadn’t found out why Rustin’s Uncle Jacob had felt the need to lock him in a frog.

Rustin wasn’t being very forthcoming with the information.

I hurried past him, into my bathroom, where I put soap onto the wet paper towel and scrubbed my cheek until I was in danger of removing a layer of skin cells along with the frog pee.

“What are you doing here, then? Standing there laughing isn’t helping at all.”

Rustin shrugged. “I was bored. Your life is generally good for a few laughs. I’m happy to report that this morning has been no exception.”

I barely resisted zapping him with my almost worthless keeper magics. I pretty much had only enough oomph in my zapper to curl someone’s hair or make them pee themselves.

Trust me when I tell you I’d had enough of making stuff pee for the day.

Flinging the soiled paper towel into the trash, I glared at him. “I’m so glad I could entertain.”

“Me too.” His grin never wavered.

A part of me was happy to see it. I’d been so worried that Rustin would lose his humanity because of his enforced incarceration in the frog. But his cousin Maude and his very powerful Aunt Madeline had been working on reversing the spell. They hadn’t managed yet to free him. But they’d created a metaphysical barrier between Mr. Slimy’s ─ a.k.a. the frog’s ─ consciousness and Rustin’s so he could maintain his power, brain capacity, and humanity…basically his soul.

That was as good a result as we could have hoped for under the circumstances.

Even though that meant, as Mr. Slimy’s current foster parent, I was also the unlucky owner of the ethereally handsome and eternally snarky witch who was stuck inside the frog.

You thought I was kidding about the challenges of my life, didn’t you?

The bell jangled downstairs in my bookstore, and I glanced at my stuck amphibian.

“Ribbit.” Slimy’s sticky tongue snapped out and snagged a massive fly that had tried to make a break for the window above the sink.

Sucker.

I looked at Rustin. “Keep an eye on the squishy, green bus. I have to go see who’s downstairs.”

He nodded, casting what appeared to be an affectionate glance toward Mr. Slimy.

I shook my head. How anybody could be fond of a frog was beyond me.

Although, I realized as I bounced down the steps to the first floor, that I’d begun to form an attachment which transcended disgust. In fact, I almost dreaded the day Madeline managed to find a way to extract her nephew. I was going to miss him.

Unlocking the door that separated the bookstore from the artifact library behind me, I blinked in surprise.

Had I just had a Freudian moment? Was I going to miss the witch? Or the frog?

I shrugged, shoving the question aside for another time. It would probably be an easy choice.

I mean, one of them just peed on me.

Sam Cheever has an exciting new Mystery in her Gainfully Employed series!

She’s got a lot more to lose now…and somebody’s determined to make sure she loses it all.

Blaise is at it again. She’s still searching for that perfect job. But even when she thinks she might have found a job that could be more of a career than just a 9 to 5 gig, something always happens to get in her way.

Usually, that something involves a corpse…

But this time, Blaise’s past comes back to haunt her in a big way. She’d thought she put that whole, seeing a murder on the beach thing behind her. But it seems somebody doesn’t want to leave the past where it belongs.

And her past problems are about to become her current nightmare.

She’s just trying to live her life. But someone doesn’t want to let go of the past. And that means not letting go of her!

“Just think of it as a giant party,” Blaise’s friend, Suz Whatsnoggin told her, grinning.

“It will be just like working at the bar,” Dolfe offered, taking a long swig of his icy cold beer.

Tyrese shook his head. “Not really. There are no Bridezillas at the bar.”

Dolfe’s handsome face filled with worry. “Bridezilla? I don’t know what that is but I’m pretty sure I don’t like the sound of it.”

Blaise winced, imploring her friends with her eyes not to inform her sexy fiancé about the horrors of dealing with a nervous bride. It was the last thing Blaise wanted him to think about on the virtual eve of their own wedding.

Well…if you consider “within the next year” the eve.

Fortunately, Suz caught what her friend was throwing. “It’s nothing you need to ever worry about, Honeybun.” She winked at Blaise.

But Dolfe was not a stupid man. In fact, he was probably even smarter than he was good-looking, Blaise thought. And that was a lot of smart. “It’s just a mean term used for brides who get the jitters,” she told him in as offhand a way as she could muster. “Suz is right. You’ll never experience that with me. I’m a rock.”

He grinned. “A rock, huh?” Being the aforementioned smart hottie, Dolfe was wise enough not to venture any further into those tempestuous seas. He simply smiled, shaking his head, and took another sip of his beer.

Tyrese apparently wasn’t smart enough to stay out of the storm. He dove right in, daring the waves to swamp him. “I have no delusions. If Suz and I choose to get married someday, she’ll be the queen of bridezillas. My Suz will own the term.” He shook his head as Suz gave him a quelling look. “I love me some strong woman. I have my own special way of easing her nerves.”

When he waggled his brows, Suz rolled her eyes. “Stupidity, thy name is Tyrese.”

Ty’s leer slid away. “Babe!” He leaned across the table, one long, brown finger tucking up beneath her delicate chin and lifting. “You know you’re cray-cray about me.”

She leaned in too, her lips a mere breath from his as she released the Kraken. “Dude,” Suz said in her sexiest voice. “You know, if we ever did decide to tie the knot, I’d just be marrying you for your last name, right?”

Ty laughed. “What? You don’t want to lumber through life with the name Whatsnoggin anymore?”

Suz smacked him on the arm.

Blaise shook her head. “Please tell me you didn’t just go there,” she said.

Dolfe winced.  “We don’t make fun of a person’s name around here, man. It’s not in good taste,” said the guy named Honeybun.

Ty’s smile withered. “She started it.”

Suz snorted. “Really? That’s what you’re going with? A playground excuse?”

Ty shrugged. “Look, I love your weird name, babe. It’s just one of the many funny little oddities that make you special.”

Dolfe groaned and Blaise sucked in a gasp. “Ty!”

Suz stared at him for a long moment, her pretty face so lacking in expression it was an expression all on its own. It was a face that said, you are so dead, while simultaneously declaring a total lack of concern.

Tyrese slowly lost his swagger and began to wilt, until he became little more than a handsome puddle in the delicate chair. When he was so puddly he looked ready to slither bonelessly off the chair onto the newly carpeted floor, Suz finally gave him a tight smile. “Just for that, if we ever decide to get married, Tyrese Miller, you’re going to take my name.”

Everybody gasped at that, followed by Dolfe’s low chuckle.

“Snap!” Blaise told her friends, knocking dainty knuckles with Suz.

“Come on, girlfriend,” Suz told Blaise. “Help me count the new shipment of linen napkins that just came in?”

Blaise stood, winking at Tyrese. “You’d better pull together your best defrazzling game, son. That’s one ticked off ‘special’ girl right there.” Blaise grinned as she followed Suz’s angrily swaying behind toward the door at the back of the enormous room. Behind her, she heard Dolfe’s deep chuckle as Ty whined at him in a voice that sounded like seagulls on a stormy beach.

Suz stopped at the open storage room door and grinned. “That should keep him on his toes for a while.”

Blaise laughed softly. “Oh yeah.”

Before going inside, the two of them stood in the doorway and looked around at the massive main space. It was a gorgeous room, elegant and clean, with lots of light and clean, simple lines. Blaise was impressed by her friend’s vision and decorating skills.

“It’s really beautiful, Suz.”

Her friend sighed, leaning companionably against Blaise’s shoulder. “It is, isn’t it?”

Blaise nodded. When Suz had first come to her with the idea of a wedding reception barn venue, Blaise had thought Suz had lost her mind. But her friend had quickly sold the plan, backing up her excitement with lots of rock-solid information that supported both the need and profitability of the venture.

With Blaise’s help and Dolfe’s investment in time and effort, Ty and Suz had turned the dream into reality in only a few short months.

They’d found a big, dusty barn out in the country on twenty acres of farmland and woods. The property featured a picturesque creek running along behind the main building, a wide lawn with old growth evergreens, and a lovely bridge over the creek that would make a perfect spot for pictures.

Ty and Suz had turned the interior of the metal-sided barn into a beautiful space, with rustic looking cedar walls, a tall ceiling with the original beams, and cream-colored carpet that Blaise couldn’t help thinking was going to be Hell on Earth to keep clean.

The public portion of the venue mostly consisted of one, giant room, with an alcove for coats and gifts, two bathrooms, and an open-air patio out back that served both as an outdoor kitchen and smoking lounge. The roof of the lounge was outfitted with industrial-sized heaters for cooler nights, and giant ceiling fans for sultry summer nights. The structure was mostly enclosed, with one wall entirely open so that smoke from cigars or the grill could escape harmlessly out into the night.  The view through the open wall included the pretty little creek and bridge, as well as a few acres of grass, flower beds, and evergreen trees.

It was actually a really nice space that Blaise hoped they’d be able to use for future Honeybun parties. It was large enough to accommodate a family as big as the Honeybuns, even as they continued to grow.

The non-public part of the venue consisted of a storage room with a small office at the back, and a caterer’s kitchen with restaurant-grade appliances.

The main room held fifty tables that were big enough to seat eight to ten people each, with chairs that Suz had covered in frilly white covers. Overhead, crystal chandeliers looked both opulent and kitschy against the age-darkened wood and were complimented by yard after yard of gossamer drapings, which hung from the rustic beams.

They’d added a small dance floor on one end, with a raised stage and glossy wood floors.

A swinging metal door in the back corner of the main space led to the caterer’s kitchen, which contained ample refrigeration, a bank of industrial microwaves for reheating food that was brought in for events, and a couple of long, wide, stainless-steel counters for food prep. They’d added the kitchen space on Dolfe’s suggestion, and it had required building a small annex of the main building. But Blaise realized it had absolutely been the right thing to do, and she was happy her friends had listened to her very smart fiancé.

Blaise had been intrigued as the couple turned the ugly building into something straight out of a fairy tale. All her doubts had slowly been swept away as she saw the enormous potential there.

And the last hurdle had been breached when they got their first clients, who were on their way to the venue at that very moment for a walk-thru.

Suz took a deep breath. “This is really going to happen, isn’t it?”

Wrapping an arm around her friend, Blaise nodded, “It really is.”

“I hope this couple isn’t difficult,” Suz said, frowning. She chewed on her bottom lip, clearly affected by the whole bridezilla conversation.

“We’ll deal with whatever happens,” Blaise said soothingly.

Suz nodded, giving Blaise a wide smile. “Have I told you that I’m so happy you’re here to help us get this off the ground?”

“Only five times today,” Blaise said, laughing. “But remember, it’s only for the first few months.” The wedding reception venue concept felt too much like working in a bar for Blaise’s taste. She was happy to help out, but it wasn’t what she wanted to do long-term for a living.

“I know,” her friend said on a sigh. “But a girl can dream, can’t she?”

“She absolutely can.” Blaise swung her arm to encompass the entire space. “Look what happens when she does.”


Grab your copy of Risky Venue at its temporary New Release price!

When Nothing’s Familiar, Everything Can be Lost – A riveting new paranormal mystery from Sam Cheever

When the boundary between worlds is breached, lives are at risk, balance is disrupted and nothing is the same.

I screeched to a halt, my chest heaving from the exertion of running the length of the tracks, and watched with a horrified gaze as several more of the things slid from the car. I counted a dozen before I stopped counting and started looking for escape options.

It was a trap!

I shook my head even as I had the thought, mad at myself for being so completely drawn into it. I watched them.

They watched me.

Something about them was familiar. Though I was far too agitated at the moment to remember where I’d seen them before.

Or what they were.

The creatures started toward me and I stepped back, my hands coming up and magic sputtering from my fingertips. “Stay back!”

They didn’t even hesitate. In fact, they seemed to move more quickly in my direction. I gathered enough energy to exterminate a room full of Demons and flung it at them, expecting to see them burst into tiny pieces of supernatural ugliness.

They bowed backward when my magic hit them, their shadowy, amorphous shapes bulging outward as the energy hit, and their limbs jerking with the force. The light from my magic flared when it touched them, and then slowly dimmed, seeming to sink beneath their black, lifeless skin.

Instead of exploding into pieces, they seemed energized by my attack. Their eyes glowed brighter as they started forward again.

It was as if they’d absorbed my energy. Like it had made them stronger. The nearest one threw back its head, emitting an ear-splitting shriek that made me cringe away with a cry, covering my ears in self-defense. I saw movement out of the corner of my eye and jerked my head up. The center of the leader’s spider-like form split apart in about a ten-inch vertical slash and a thick, silvery mist sprayed toward me from the breach.

I barely slammed up a protective web before the spray bathed me in foul-smelling magic. It sizzled against my web like acid, eating holes through my energy as I watched.

Horror filled my chest. I started to back away, more energy sputtering at my fingertips, even though I knew I couldn’t use it against them.

It would only make them stronger.

The creatures became more agitated as the magic leached from under my skin, merging together into a vibrating pack and surging forward as if they were drawn helplessly toward the power.

At a loss for anything else to do, I turned and started to run.

A bitter breeze shot down the concrete tunnel, bathing my back and legs in sulfurous stink. I stumbled as it burned my skin, leaving behind a film of ice.

My teeth clacked together from the sheer force of the cold, and it was all I could do to keep running as it hit me.

Deg! I shrieked in my mind as I stumbled forward. Where are you?

His silence was more ominous than the raspy breath of the things who rode my heels down the track. Something was very wrong.

First Littleton and then Deg.

Whatever was going on, if I was going to help them, I couldn’t be next. I reached the wide archway leading to the station but couldn’t stop. If I slowed enough to climb back up onto the platform, they’d be on me before I managed to reach the top.

With every stride I took, they covered an area twice what I could. I was seconds away from being overrun.

There was no doubt in my mind that I would die if they touched me.

 

Grab Your Copy of Nothing Familiar at a discounted release price!

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Mucky Bumpkin – A Fun New Cozy Mystery from Sam Cheever

 

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“…characters you can’t help but fall in love with … an intriguing, many layered mystery with many twists and turns, and at least one surprising revelation…
I recommend this series and author to anyone who enjoys a good, cozy and fun mystery.”

 

She might be a country girl who loves short shorts and flip-flops, but her life is less defined by her countrified attire, and more by the way she hunts down a deadly killer.

Murder is sinking its hooks into the quiet countryside and dredging up ugly secrets. Deer Hollow is still a quiet little town steeped in Americana and known for its delicious country fare. But being named a top ten place to live just might have inspired an assassin to make the quaint country spot home.
As Joey searches for a killer, her past is dragged from the murky darkness where she’s hidden it. And secrets she never wanted to discover are rising like the stink of manure on a freshly fertilized field.

Excerpt

I’ve always been perfectly aware of my shortcomings as a person.

Mostly.

I consider myself generally a good person. With good instincts about people and a desire to be kind to others unless they’re unkind to me.

But I do have an aversion to pushy people. Which has put me on the wrong side of salesmen of all kinds more than once.

My second least favorite of these is Realtors. Not that being a Realtor is innately bad. It’s just that the act of buying or selling a house is way too much like dealing with used car salesmen for my taste.

Which brings me to my first least favorite type of salesmen.

Fortunately, it wasn’t a car salesman standing on my porch that sunny, cool-ish fall day in the rural area just outside of Deer Hollow, Indiana.

But it might as well have been.

The woman standing in front of Caphy and me had lipstick on her teeth and hair that looked as if squirrels might have built it on her head for nesting. Lucky for her my dog was much more tolerant than I was. Even when she was being none-too-subtly dissed by said lipstick-teethed intruder.

“Oh my! You should chain that beast up.”

The hand on Caphy’s collar tightened briefly as I fought to contain my instant rage. Cacophony, Caphy for short, was about the sweetest animal that ever lived. She was more than my best friend. I credited her with saving my life when I’d gone into the deepest depression imaginable after my parents were killed in a plane crash on our property.

She was also a Pitbull.

And that was all some people saw when they looked at her.

Caphy smiled at the woman, her muscular tail whipping painfully against my leg. She whined softly, quivering with friendly excitement.

“She’s fine,” I told the woman with the squirrel’s nest for hair. “She lives here. Whereas you…” I let my statement trail away, allowing my uninvited guest to gather my inference all by herself.

The woman frowned slightly, moving a purse the size of her extra-large backside in front of her like a shield. “Oh…um…okay. Well.” She extended her hand a few inches in front of her, a white rectangle stuck between two short fingers. “Here’s my card. My name is Penney Sellers. I was wondering if you’re interested in selling your house.”

I blinked several times. “Not in the least.”

As I responded I realized it was true. When I’d initially learned that I’d inherited the family home after my parents’ death, I’d thought I wanted to sell it. Too many painful memories lived within its familiar walls. I still thought I’d sell eventually. But I wasn’t quite ready to make that decision.

I glanced down at the card, grimacing at the obviousness of the woman’s name. “Is Penney Sellers really your name?”

In response she gave me a slightly snotty smile. “I can offer you a premium price. There aren’t many homes in this area of this quality.”

“Not interested. You do know there’s a huge subdivision going up on the south side of Deer Hollow, right?” Of course she knew that. But I was making a point.

“Those houses are fine. But they don’t have the…” She swung her arms toward the pond and the trees. “Ambiance. The setting here is truly spectacular.”

“Thank you. But I’m not interested in selling.” I backed into the house, tugging gently on Caphy’s collar. Her gaze locked onto the other woman who’d taken a step toward the door as if she was thinking about pushing her way inside. A low growl emerged from Caphy’s throat and the hair in front of her tail spiked.

Penney Sellers stopped dead in her tracks, her gaze shooting to the endlessly sweet creature who was giving her fair warning.

But Caphy’s warning didn’t stop the realtor’s mouth from moving. “Do you own all those woods over there?” The woman asked. Her expression was perfectly innocent. But there was a gleam in her eye that I didn’t like.

“Yes. All the way to the big stone marker on Goat’s Hollow Road. 100 acres.”

The gleam flared, making her look positively demonic. “A hundred acres! My goodness. I’d love to talk to you about subdividing the property. We could build a dozen homes and still have sizeable properties.”

“Not interested. Thanks for stopping by.”

“But…”

I slammed the door in her face and locked it. Pressing my ear against the warm wood, I listened for her to climb into her car and drive away before I took a full breath. A soft whine drew my gaze to Caphy. “It’s all right, girl. She’s gone.”

The pibl’s tail snapped sideways once and then she nuzzled me, snorting softly. She was sensitive to my moods, and the alarm I was feeling was no doubt putting her on edge. I couldn’t have explained the panic tightening my chest if someone offered me a thousand dollars to do it.

It was an unreasonable fear. But undeniable.

Nobody could force me to sell my house. Nobody could make me give up my private little wonderland. It was all I had left of my parents.

It was also the place where Caphy and I had grown up. Where we’d run and played, where I’d climbed trees and learned to swim. But the new subdivision was affecting my life in ways I hadn’t expected. When I’d first learned it was coming it had seemed harmless. After all, the three hundred acre plot on the south side of Deer Hollow was miles away from me. The homes were supposed to be decent ones, built on quarter acre lots and not all exactly the same. I reasoned it would be nice to have some new blood in town.

Unfortunately, I hadn’t counted on the other stuff that came with those homes. The constant traffic through town from looky-loos. The noise, mess, and invasion of people who thought the town had been conjured up for their enjoyment.

And the realtors, builders and construction people who clogged the streets and turned the few restaurants Deer Hollowboasted into hotbeds of noise and inaccessibility at meal times.

Still, I could deal with all that.

It was the other thing that had my nerves thrumming like a banjo in the mountains of Kentucky.

The sense of impending doom.

 

BUY LINK:  books2read.com/mucky

 

Sam Cheever has a Brand New Mystery – Fatal Assignment

 

A temporary office assignment turns deadly. And Blaise quickly finds herself in a killer’s crosshairs.

Backstabbing, infidelity, greed and power. There’s nothing more dangerous than office intrigue. Blaise continues her search for the perfect career by taking a temporary assignment in an architectural firm. Though she quickly learns that wrangling a proposal team to get to end of project is nearly impossible, keeping everyone alive might just be the hardest thing she’ll ever do.

With the help of her sexy fiancé, Dolfe Honeybun, Blaise is determined to get to the bottom of the body in the elevator. Problem is, with a cast of suspects longer than her To Do list, Blaise is up to her perfectly plucked eyebrows in possible killers. And she might not know who the killer is, but he knows everything there is to know about Blaise.

###

Blaise Runa checked her make-up in the mirror for the last time and climbed out of her car. Her phone rang as she started across the nearly empty parking lot to the ugly brick and metal building squatting alongside the street. The sun was still a vague promise on the horizon and Blaise felt the usual mix of excitement and dread as she approached the smudged glass doors leading to the lobby of the Beck and Poole Architectural Firm.

She tugged her phone from her purse and looked down, smiling at the photo of her newest love, Miss Ivy, the big eared sweet tempered mutt she and Dolfe recently adopted. Blaise punched the Answer button. “Hey, Handsome.”

“Morning, future wife. I couldn’t believe you were already gone when I woke up. Third time this week.”

Blaise pulled a lanyard free of her sweater and lifted the key card on the end, swiping it across the reader to unlock the door. “I have two days to get this proposal together and I’m still missing several pieces. I’m going to have to hit the database hard and try to pull together something for the team to edit.”

Heavy breathing came through the phone and Blaise blinked in surprise. “Are you giving me stalker breath?”

Dolfe’s husky chuckle replaced the breathing, followed by a wet slurp and a tiny yip. “Oh, is that Ivy?”

Another yip. “High, baby! Mama’s got to work today. You be good for Daddy, okay?”

She could almost hear Dolfe rolling his eyes. “You know she’s a dog, right?”

“I’m aware. But she’s my little fur baby too.”

“If she’s your baby then that makes her my baby and I don’t want to claim a baby this ugly.”

Blaise hit the stairs, eschewing the elevator in an attempt to skim the few extra pounds she’d piled on since taking the temporary project management position a few weeks earlier. The building had a killer cafeteria, with the world’s best pastries.

It was going to be the death of her.

“I hope you covered her ears before you called her ugly. She’s very sensitive.”

He snorted. “Sensitive? This little monster thinks she rules the world. She doesn’t have a sensitive bone in her puny little body.”

Blaise grinned. He wasn’t wrong. Ivy might only weigh ten pounds, but she thought she was a lion. “Give her a kiss for me, will you? I’ll see you tonight?”

“That’ll be a hard No on the kiss and a gooey Yes on the seeing me later part.”

“Love ya, babe.”

“I love you too, honey. But I have one more thing to say…”

“What’s that?” Blaise tugged the door open to the office on the third floor where she had a desk and flipped on the light.

“If we’re this monster’s parents, you’re taking the blame for these ears.”

 

BUY LINKS:

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

Amazon.ca: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07CVJ1Q7G

Amazon.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07CVJ1Q7G

Amazon.au: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07CVJ1Q7G

B&N: http://samcheever.com/blog/fatalBN

Kobo: http://samcheever.com/blog/fatalkobo

iBooks: http://samcheever.com/blog/fatalAP

GooglePlay: http://samcheever.com/blog/fatalGP

Sam Cheever has a Fun New Cozy Mystery!

“I was snorting into my pillow so much I sounded like my grand dog Nova. People this is a keeper. I went out and bought the paperback this weekend! You need to read this NOVEL it will cheer you up, make you get over the blues and damn will make you walk around with a smirk and half smile for awhile. These characters become you friends and family. I have a lot of people read Flo and Company! They are a treat.” Karen Frost Reviews

~*~

 

Come to Silver Hills. Where an old nemesis can lead to new trouble and murder is a line item in a business plan.

Vlad Newsome isn’t exactly known as a people person. He’s really more contentious than convivial.

But something’s changed with him, and Flo and Agnes are suspicious.

Vlad’s suddenly “peopling”. He’s shaking hands and even curving his thin lips upward at times in a terrifying imitation of a smile.

Could it be he’s turning over a new leaf? Is he facing a life-changing event that’s made him grow as a person?

Nah…

He’s up to something. And Flo and Agnes are determined to find out what.

When a woman who had a beef with the reprehensible creature of the night known as Vlad Newsome turns up dead in her home…Vlad appears to be the culprit behind her murder.

Silver City PD certainly believe he’s guilty. But Vlad insists he’s innocent. It’s going to be up to Flo and Co. to solve the murder and find the “real” killer. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the ladies aren’t totally certain Vlad isn’t the murderer.

Will Flo and Co. walk away…leave Vlad to defend himself? If you believe that you haven’t been paying attention.

After all, this is Flo and Agnes!

 

~~*~~

“Maybe somebody died,” Agnes offered.

Flo rolled her eyes and pulled a spiky branch up to cover her face. “I hope not, since they’re all laughing.”
Agnes’s round face folded into a frown. “In some cultures, death is celebrated.”

“While I realize being a vampire could be considered another culture…I doubt any of Vlad’s victims or their families would celebrate death by fang.” Flo ducked, pulling the branch with her, as the goth version of a night manager skimmed a look her way. Regrettably, her movement totally exposed her fellow stalker.

Agnes gulped loudly as Vladwick Newsome fixed his black, deadly gaze on her, clearly miffed. “He saw me, Flo.”

Another man approached Vlad and, unbelievably, the usually unfriendly night manager offered the tall, tough-looking man his hand. They shook vigorously and Vlad actually leaned close, whispering something to the other man that made him smile.

“What the?” Agnes stood up, glaring across the street until Vlad turned her way. Then he said something to his new friend and started toward them, his dark eyes flashing with anger.

Flo grabbed her friend’s hand. “Come on. It’s still daylight. His powers are weaker when the sun’s up.”

Snorting, Agnes let herself be dragged toward the street. “I almost wish he really was a vampire so that would be true.”

Flo sighed. “Me too.” They hurried across the street and headed toward home. “I think we just witnessed Vlad’s attempt to foil our plans.”

Agnes shrugged. “To tell you the truth, I’m okay with that. I really don’t want to be a weekend manager.”

“Why not?” Flo asked. “I’ll admit the pay’s not great but it would be nice to have a little extra income, wouldn’t it?” Agnes didn’t actually have any income at the moment. She was able to live at Silver Hills because of an inheritance from her parents, which was just enough to pay for her apartment there and not much else.

Her friend shrugged. “It’s just…”

“Hey!” The snotty, strident voice assaulted them from across the street.

Flo grabbed Agnes’ hand, pulling her into a faster walk. “Don’t look back.”

“We can’t just ignore him,” Agnes said as she began to turn.

Flo jerked her around. “Don’t! He’s just going to threaten you and Tolstoy with eviction again.”

“Flo, you know he’s going to do that anyway. He’s going to be mad if I put my name in the hat for the manager’s position.”

“But if you get the job he won’t be able to threaten you with that ever again,” Flo reminded her.

She saw the moment the realization hit. Agnes’ round, expressive face brightened in a smile. “You’re right.” To Flo’s horror, Agnes stopped and turned as Vlad hurried closer. “What up, vamp?”

The cranky night manager curled his lip and oozed to a stop deep inside their comfort zone.

Flo took a step backward, glaring at him. “Vlad.”

He gave her a smug grimace. “Annoying woman from the second floor.”

Flo fought irritation. The man knew perfectly well who she was. He just liked to pretend she was so unimportant he couldn’t remember her name. She clamped her lips down on the desire to give it to him again. It wouldn’t make any difference and would allow him a win.

She was all about not giving Vlad Newsome a win.

He turned a piercing, nearly black gaze toward Agnes. Flo saw her friend twitch, her eyes widening as if she couldn’t look away.

“He can’t compel you with his gaze, Agnes.”

Agnes chewed on her bottom lip. “Are you sure? I’m feeling kind of woozy.”

“That’s because you stopped breathing.” Flo touched her friend’s thick wrist. “Drop your eyes and breathe, fool.”

Agnes didn’t blink. Her eyes were so big Flo was afraid they might be stuck. “Agnes, a bug’s going to fly into your eyes if you don’t blink.”

Agnes’ mouth opened into a horrified “O”. She hated when that happened. “I can’t Flo, he’s got me.”

Vlad chuckled darkly, clearly enjoying Agnes’ hysteria.

Flo reached out and punched him in the arm.

“Ow!” His smile died as he rubbed his skinny arm. “That hurt.”

Fortunately, when he looked away, Agnes broke the spell she’d put on herself. She glared at him. “You won’t stop me with your vampire ways,” she told him angrily.

He shook his head. “You people are idiots. There is no such thing as vampires.”

“That’s exactly what a vampire would say when it was about to be outed,” Agnes told him smugly.

 

BUY LINKS:

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

Barnes & Noble: http://samcheever.com/blog/vladBN

iBookstore: http://samcheever.com/blog/vladApple

Kobo Books: http://samcheever.com/blog/vladKB

Paperback: http://samcheever.com/blog/vladpaper

Paperback: http://samcheever.com/blog/vladpaper

Sam Cheever has a FUN New Cozy!

Come to Silver Hills. Where new friends are made and a grim reaper is born.

Agnes Willard is moving into Silver Hills. She’s worried about the change and concerned about fitting in. Luckily for her, Florence Bee has decided to take Agnes under her wing.

When Agnes’ cat Tolstoy escapes as they’re getting Agnes settled into her new apartment, they quickly find him across the hall, perched on a dying woman’s chest.

The new friends soon learn three things from the experience:

  1. The cat definitely has an instinct for and proclivity toward people who are on death’s doorstep.
  2. Finding and avoiding a killer is a really tough way to spend your first days in a new place.
  3. Agnes truly does have a unique talent for debauching a crime scene.

Grab your copy NOW! (Erm, sorry for yelling at you there. #:0)

 

EXCERPT

There was no sound of footsteps on the tile of the hallway. Nobody called out. There was no hint that they’d been joined by another person.

But suddenly Flo knew he was there.

Her head jerked up and she saw the lean, dark form in the bedroom doorway. She yelped softly with surprise and fear before she caught herself. “You did that on purpose.”

Vladwick, or Vlad as they called him, glided forward, the light from the parking lot beyond Betty’s window catching him just below the eyes and framing the black orbs of his gaze and the slicked back hair with the dramatic widow’s peak.

He looked like something from an old time Dracula movie. Flo half expected him to say, “Good eevvenning…”

But of course, he didn’t. Niceties were not Vlad Newsome’s thing. He glided over to the bed and glared down his long, pointed nose at the dead woman. His thin lips curled contemptuously. “How annoying.”

Flo and Celia shared a look and Celia shook her head, clearly disgusted.

“I know,” Flo said in her most rigid tones. “It’s such a shame when people die and disrupt your scheduled draining of unsuspecting villagers. Hopefully, it won’t affect your ability to stay ahead of the pitchforks and torches.”

He turned his glare on her. “Are you finished?”

Flo let contempt fill her gaze and focused it on him. “Maybe.”

“Good. Then tell me what you know about this.”

“I’ll tell the police when they arrive.”

His black eyes went wide. “Police? Why would we need them?”

“This woman was murdered,” Celia told him with a little too much relish.

Vlad blinked slowly, like a lizard. “And you know this how?”

Fortunately, Celia didn’t go into the specifics of how she knew. Flo wasn’t sure she could hear it again without hurling.

“Just trust us. She was alive when we were here earlier.”

Vlad peaked a slender black eyebrow, his thin lips twisting with disdain. “You were here earlier, when she was alive?”

Flo turned to Celia. “Do you hear an echo?”

“I do…I do…I do…” Celia responded.

Grinding noises came from the creature standing beside the bed. Flo really hoped he didn’t fracture a fang.

 

BUY LINKS:

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

Amazon.ca: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07B29MPSJ

Amazon.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07B29MPSJ

Amazon.au: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07B29MPSJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/flo-charts

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/flo-charts-sam-cheever/1128031807?ean=2940159047724

GooglePlay: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=6sNNDwAAQBAJ

iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1352728918

Yesterday’s Mysteries Continue!

Sam Cheever has added another great book to this fun, unique series. A fascinating mix of historical, paranormal and cozy mystery, the Yesterday’s books are unlike anything you’ve probably read before. Here’s what readers are saying about Sam’s latest installment:

“…this is the fourth one of this series and they just keep getting better as they go. Sam is able to keep it fresh and that is one of the things I love about her writing. You SHOULD try it.” Amazon reviewer

“Wow what a mystery! Loved the characters and the story line! Sam has done a great job as always!” Charity Chimni Reviews

“Another AMAZING book from Sam! …a great murder mystery. It was very creatively written with enough twists to keep me guessing until the end. We’ll done Sam!!!” Amazon reviewer

Excerpt

Yesterday, 1850

The grand parlor was done up in its usual, breathtakingly spectacular fashion, with candles twinkling from every surface, silver silks draping the massive tree in the very center of the huge space, and the familiar scent of pine coming from yard upon yard of fresh pine boughs decorating the room. The boughs were wrapped in red velvet ribbon and sparkled with thousands of glass beads that captured the flickering candlelight and turned it into fairy magic.

Young Elizabeth Nelson hid behind the banister of the upstairs walkway and watched through the wide double doors as the graceful beauties in the ballroom swayed and flirted behind delicate lace fans, their dashing dates fawning outrageously. She sighed, her eyes tearing up with happiness at the sight.

Someday she’d be a lovely dancer, with a slender frame made perfect under the auspices of whalebone and strapping. She wouldn’t even mind the discomfort of having her innards compacted, as her beautiful cousin Charlotte liked to lament. Lissie’s nine-year-old waistline had a ways to go to even become compact-able. Eyeing the elegant dove gray silks, burgundy-toned sashes, and emerald satins on the women swaying to the waltz far below, Lissie knew she’d be the Belle of the Ball one day. The thought made her smile, despite the moisture in her eyes that made stars dance around the candles.

There was a commotion near one of the veranda doors and she turned to find Papa returning from a smoke in the gardens with several older gentlemen of a certain wealth and status. The men had rosy cheeks and were even more animated than usual, no doubt nurturing the brisk December air in the center of their well-padded breasts.

Lissie watched her Papa with a regretful gaze, knowing that if she were down there with him he’d wrap her up in his big strong arms. He’d smell of crisp clean air and his favorite pipe. She’d love nothing more than to sit on his substantial lap and watch the dancing from only a short distance away…to experience the music as the dancers were…a beautiful memory in the making.

The thought made her sigh wistfully.

A servant ran up to Papa and whispered in his ear. His handsome round face folded into a sudden frown and he nodded briskly, quickly addressing his friends before hurrying away to attend to whatever the servant had revealed. Lissie returned her attention to the dancers, her small chin propped on a pale, pudgy fist.

She was so entranced by the people and the music the first scream didn’t quite register in her mind. It wasn’t until a moment later, when one scream became several and the music stuttered to a halt, that Lissie finally turned to see what horrible consequence had occurred to mar the annual Nelson Christmas Ball.

A beautiful young woman Lissie knew all too well stumbled out of the downstairs hall and fell against the banister. She was white as a sheet and her beautiful dress was covered in a glossy splotch of vivid red blood. Lissie leapt to her feet with a gasp as she realized the woman was mortally hurt. She was ready to run down the stairs. To help in any way she could.

But then Papa ran from the shadows, his face pale as paper and his big hands covered in blood. In that moment Lissie realized her comfortable, beautiful world might have been irretrievably lost. That was when she screamed. When the nine-year-old saw a version of her much-anticipated future she didn’t want to see. And when Papa’s haunted gaze lifted to hers, it was the reason Lissie ran sobbing away from him, instead of into his once comforting embrace.

 

Present Day

Pratt’s big hands clutched the steering wheel, capturing Anna’s attention and holding it as the sun caressed the bleached blond hairs along his strong forearms and burnished his short-cut dark brown hair. She smiled, feeling lucky to be in the company of her two favorite men, heading for a party.

Pratt turned at her perusal and fixed his wide, golden brown gaze warmly on her. “You okay?”

She nodded, feeling excitement churning in her stomach as Pratt turned into the long, winding driveway. “I’m perfect.”

“Yes, you are.”

She bit her lip to squelch a pleased grin and turned toward their destination. “Oh, look at the lights!” Up ahead, perched on the top of a hill and burnished by what looked like a thousand strands of silvery lights, Nelson Hall looked like something out of a fairy tale. “It’s beautiful.”

Pratt threw her a smile, nodding. “Duncan has really done some work on the old place.”

It was true. The last time they’d visited the big, historical Hall it had been in a terrible state of disarray, with overgrown trees and grounds, a broken gate and crumbling structures everywhere. Duncan himself had been broken, a lonely man who’d given up on life. But things had changed for the better at Nelson Hall and Anna knew she and her friends had had some small part in that.

Not the least of which was returning one of Duncan’s ancestors to the fold to keep him company. With that thought in mind, Anna turned to observe the overly quiet passenger in the backseat. Joss had his trademark cowboy hat pushed back on his head and was perusing the spectacle on the hill with a slight frown on his handsome face. She took a beat to enjoy the view, taking in his long, muscular legs, thick dark gold hair and broad, chiseled jawline, complete with a permanently etched stubble that made him seem a little bit dangerous. A useful thing in a ghost from the 1800s. “Penny for your thoughts?” she offered with a smile.

Joss didn’t notice the smile, he was laser-focused on their destination. “The place brings to mind Gotham City in its day.”

She turned in her seat, giving him her full attention. “You’ve been to New York City?”

“Not directly, no.” He finally looked her way, fixing her with an intense, dark-blue stare. “Old friend of mine went there once. He described it in a post card and this here’s exactly the way I pictured it in my mind.”

Pratt eyed their friendly specter in the rear-view mirror. “I’ll bet Lissie will be glad to see you.”

Anna saw the quick concern darkening Joss’s handsome features before he quelled it. She wondered at its cause. He’d had a similar reaction every time they’d mentioned seeing the sweet but troubled ghost again. Even though he’d worked hard to hide it from her. “Are you glad to be seeing her?” she asked softly.

“To be honest, the prospect does make me a mite all-overish. The gal was a bit unpredictable the last time we saw her. I just hope she don’t hit the ether runnin’ when she finds out poor Bessy couldn’t come as promised.”

Bess. Anna sighed. The long-dead saloon girl had always been …difficult…but she’d been uncharacteristically morose all week since realizing she wasn’t going to be able to attend the party with them. “I’m at a loss as to what’s holding her to Yesterday’s,” Anna said. She glanced at Joss. “You know I’d find a way to bring her if I could, right?”

Something in her tone must have reached through Joss’s weighty thoughts and yanked his attention, finally, to her. “Don’t you worry yourself about it, darlin’. I reckin’ I’ve just grabbed a rattler by the tail one too many times of late. I’m a bit horse-shy.”

Pratt chuckled. “I know the feeling. That’s why this outing will be perfect. The Apple Blossom Ball is behind us. All that ugliness is shoved into the past. This will be good for us.” He gave Anna a gentle smile. “It’ll be fun to just enjoy the holidays with friends.”

“The past ain’t inclined to stay there, Puke,” Joss grumbled. “Me and Bessy and Lissie are proof of that.” Still, when Pratt pulled around the newly repaired fountain to the base of the wide front steps, Joss did perk up and look a bit happier.

Anna shoved her door open and stepped outside, her gaze drawn immediately to the happy fall of water from the large fountain. The naked woman at its center carried a stone vessel on her shoulder and the water sprouted from the top of it, cascading over the pocked form of the ice-covered statue and splashing in silvery sparkles into the deep basin at her feet. Red and green lights, fixed on the inside lip of the basin, bathed the woman’s form in Christmas colors. The last time they’d visited Anna remembered the basin had been full of leaves and it had been dry. Certainly, there had been no cheery lights.

“I’m surprised Duncan has this thing running right now. It’s likely to be a giant popsicle before we leave.”

“I’m glad he does,” Anna told Pratt, smiling. “It’s such a happy sight and sound.”

“Much better than before,” he agreed with a nod.

“There you are!”

They turned to find Duncan smiling at them from the open door. “Come on in before you freeze to death.”

Placing a hand in the small of Anna’s back, Pratt leaned close and lowered his voice. “Dangit, I was hoping to get to use the Ebeneezer Scrooge door knocker again.”

Anna chuckled softly. “We’ll come back out and give it a pound or two later, when Duncan’s not looking.”

“If you don’t mind, darlin’, I’m gonna pop off and find Miss Lissie.”

“Of course, Joss.” She started to reach out and touch his arm, stopping just before her hand found his to avoid the snap of electricity her touch would create. “Tell her I said hi, will you? I’ll look for her later and we can have a nice chat.”

Joss inclined his head and, after throwing Pratt a look filled with meaning Anna couldn’t decipher, he disappeared.

She would have asked Pratt what the look had been about, but Duncan was frantically ushering them inside. She made a mental note to ask Pratt later. It wouldn’t be the first time the two men made a plan behind her back. Usually it involved ensuring her protection. She didn’t mind the fact that they cared about keeping her safe. It was the implication that she needed protection at a Christmas party that was making her stomach tighten.

That thought threatened to put a damper on her day. Fortunately for her the dire thought was chased completely away when she stepped through the door.

And found herself smack dab in fairy land.

~SC~

Duncan’s eyes sparkled as she stood before the thirty-foot Christmas tree, its graceful branches dipping under the weight of candle-shaped lights and silver silk. “What do you think?”

Anna shook her head, too filled with emotion to speak. “It’s beyond amazing.” She looked around the huge ballroom, taking in the rich green of the draped evergreen boughs wrapped in the vibrant red of fat cranberries, and the abundance of spluttering white candles in polished silver holders. “Everything is gorgeous. I can’t believe this is the same place I visited before.”

He nodded, clearly pleased. “I’ve tried to make it as much like it used to be as possible.”

“It looks very authentic.”

“I had an expert help me.”

She skimmed him a look and found him grinning widely.

“Lissie?”

Duncan nodded. “She’s been such a joy, Anna. I can’t thank you enough for bringing her to me.”

A ponderous knocking sound filled the space, halting Anna’s response.

Duncan held up a finger. “Hold that thought. I’ll be right back.”

She watched him hurry toward the door, noting the bounce in his step and the way he held himself. He truly did look healthier than the last time she’d seen him. She wondered if it all had to do with Lissie or if there was something else…

“Duncan seems changed,” Pratt said from behind.

Anna turned to look at him. “Yes. He’s apparently enjoying having Lissie here.”

“Well, that’s good…right?” Pratt fixed her with a speculative look. “You don’t look happy.”

Anna checked herself, realizing that he was right. She’d been frowning thoughtfully. “I am. I was just thinking…”

“Gird your loins!”

Anna rolled her gaze around to Joss, standing at her other side. “Excuse me?”

He cocked a hip, shoving his hat back on his head as he gave her his trademark lop-sided grin. “Nothin’ good ever comes from a woman’s wool gatherin’, darlin’.”

“You should talk.” She glanced behind him. “Didn’t find Lissie?”

“Oh, I found her all right. The gal’s in a rare pucker. She’s backin’ and fillin’ like the world was perched on her shoulders.”

“Maybe she just didn’t want to talk to you,” Pratt said unhelpfully.

“Shut pan, Puke. ’Sides, I ain’t no coot. I cotton when to skedaddle.” He shook his head, clearly insulted that Lissie hadn’t been happy to see him.

“She’s probably just feeling the pressure of the party. Apparently, Duncan has relied pretty heavily on her to make this event just like the ones his family used to hold here.” She twisted her fingers together before she gave in to the desire to touch him. All that would create was pain and sparks. Not exactly comforting. She’d have to rely on words. But they didn’t seem enough. Ever since she’d temporarily lost him due to a murderer’s scheming, Anna couldn’t seem to stand the thought of him being, even slightly, unhappy.

Not having him around had made her realize more than ever that she loved the handsome ghost more than she should. “Maybe you could offer to help,” she said softly. “Lissie is very proud. She probably doesn’t know how to ask. But if you offered…”

Joss scrubbed a hand over his square chin, seeming to consider her suggestion.

“I guess it wouldn’t hurt none ta ask.”

“Good luck,” she told him on a smile as he popped away.

A brisk wind filtered past as Duncan held the door open for his new arrivals. Anna shivered, rubbing her arms. Something dark slipped through her consciousness and she had a moment’s panic that the cold was more than a gust of outside air.

“I should get our suitcases,” Pratt told her, frowning. “You’re cold.”

“I’m fine.” Anna touched his arm. “They can wait until later. But thanks for offering.”

“Hey, the ghost isn’t the only one who can be gallant.”

She laughed.

“Hi, Miss Yesterday.”

She turned at the familiar voice, which squeaked just a bit at the end of her name. Pierce Johnson shoved long fingers into his unruly red hair and grimaced, quickly patting the shiny curls back into place. He was dressed with his usual tidy perfection, in ruthlessly creased charcoal slacks, which were too short as usual and showed striped red and white socks beneath the cuffs. The socks were folded an exact and careful inch from the top. He wore a red button-down shirt whose sleeves were also creased and the tails were tucked with manic precision into the usual white belt holding his trousers around a narrow waist.

The eighteen-year-old autistic man seemed uncomfortable in the new place, his gaze downcast and his fingers twining nervously together.

“How are you, Pierce? You look very festive today.”

“I’m festive every day, Miss Yesterday. But I’m a little discombobulated. I had cranberries in my oatmeal this morning instead of banana.”

“That’s his new favorite word,” a woman laughed, coming up to him and giving him a quick hug that he shrugged off with a frown.

“It’s a good word, mother. I like good words.” He plucked at his shirt, gazing around. “There is no dirt in this place. Mr. Nelson is not negligent with his duties as a homeowner.”

Heather Johnson took her son’s rebuff and quick change of subject in good form. She was no doubt used to it. Her son didn’t like being touched. “How are you, Anna? Pratt? Isn’t this place amazing?”

“It is. I can’t believe how much Duncan’s done since I last saw it.”

“He didn’t do it alone,” Heather told her. “Scarlett’s been helping him.” She frowned. “It’s really too bad Ellie couldn’t be here. I think she’d definitely approve.”

Anna didn’t comment, knowing Duncan’s sister could have been with him if she’d considered family over her own desires.

“I didn’t know Scarlett was back,” Pratt offered. “After what happened at the Ball, I assumed she’d get as far away from Crocker as she could.” He smiled when he said it, but Anna knew the sentiment was real and she shared it.

Heather chuckled. “That was a mess wasn’t it?”

Anna thought it a weird way to refer to murder. She frowned, remembering the terrifying events. Despite the fact that she and Pratt had taken a big step in their relationship, she still had trouble sleeping and found herself jumping at the slightest thing. “I think it will affect all of us for a long time to come.”

“I brought some of my famous apple cake, Miss Yesterday.” Pierce’s gaze spun around the room, carefully avoiding being caught by anyone else there. “You have to promise not to eat it all. You know you tend to be kind of an oink around my baking.”

“Pierce Adam Johnson, you apologize right now,” Heather scolded in an urgent whisper.

He shrugged, finally skimming a quick look over her face. Anna saw the humor in his eyes and barely kept from smiling herself. “No, he’s right, Heather. I think I ate three slices at the fair. My jeans definitely suffered for a couple of weeks afterward.”

Pierce nodded, his lips turning up at the corners.

Pratt dropped a hand into the small of Anna’s back. “Your jeans fit just fine, Boss. Don’t let this rascal tease you for enjoying his delicious cake.”

Pierce plucked at his shirt and skimmed a look past Pratt’s face. “Where’s the cowboy? I need to speak to him about the pudgy lady. She’s yelling at everybody and making them nervous.”

Heather sighed. “He has such an imagination.”

Anna’s gaze locked on Pierce, willing him to look at her. “Where is the pud…erm…yelling lady?”

Avoiding her direct gaze, Pierce pointed toward the curved staircase in the center of the big room. Anna didn’t see Lissie. Or any other ghosts for that matter. The realization bothered her and she glanced at Pratt. He shook his head as if he could read her mind.

He couldn’t see her either.

“Is she there right now, Pierce,” Pratt asked softly.

“Of course. Are you needing glasses, Mr. Pratt?”

Heather looked like she was going to pass out. “Young man, you apologize to these wonderful people right now or we’re going home.”

Pierce grinned before he could stop himself and shrugged again. Anna realized that was exactly what he wanted. She de-tensed as she had the thought. He’d probably made up the whole Lissie sighting just to get his mother riled up. The autistic teen liked all his ducks in a row and he craved familiar things. Nelson Hall, as beautifully as it was made up, was definitely outside his comfort zone. “It’s all right, Heather. He’s not used to being here.”

“That’s no excuse for rudeness,” she told them, reaching into her purse for her keys. “Let’s go, Pierce.”

Pratt winked at the teen before he turned away, feigning unhappiness at being dragged back home.

Anna barely contained a smile and was glad she had when Heather turned back suddenly. “I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t be silly, Heather. It’s all good.”

“The boy’s fine,” Pratt agreed. “Don’t be too hard on him.”

She shook her head and gave Pierce a little shove on the shoulder. “Let’s go, young man. I’m very disappointed in you.”

Pierce let himself be pulled toward the door and then stopped, resisting his mother’s enticement to leave as he turned back to Anna and Pratt. All traces of the smile were gone. “Tell the cowboy to watch out for the pudgy lady. She’s stirring up trouble and nothing good’s going to come of it.”

His words were swallowed up in the arrival of another small group of guests, but Anna felt their impact like a punch in the gut. Anna’s stomach clenched around a sudden jolt of fear. She tried to pull air into her lungs and discovered that it wouldn’t come. Her world spun and she reached out with one hand, feeling for one of the gilded, upholstered chairs Duncan had placed in conversational groups near the tree. Pratt grabbed her as she stumbled, easing her into a chair.

He leaned down as her chest started to heave under a wave of certainty that things were going to go horribly wrong again. She knew he was questioning her, trying to soothe. But she couldn’t hear a thing beneath the roaring in her ears.

Only two little words rose above the cacophony. Surging from the chaos in her mind to cause her knees to weaken. Not again. The words throbbing with fear.

Please god, not again. Don’t let her start the ugliness all over again.

Buy Links

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

 

From the Author

The best books yank you into their world, wrap you in a warm gauze of pleasure, and set you free to bobble upon the surface of a rich and immersive story-line. Hopefully, at the end of that experience you emerge energized, satisfied, and ready for more fun. But there are soooo many books to choose from. And you have limited time in your day for reading. You need to choose carefully. So why choose a Sam Cheever book?

  • Fascinating, three-dimensional characters you can’t help relating to
  • A unique plot that plays across your mind like a fine symphony
  • Witty, firecracker dialogue
  • A distinctive mix of humor, romance and adventure that will keep you turning pages well into the night

So, why don’t you take the plunge? Indulge that adventurous spirit. Treat yourself to a little harmless fun. You’ve certainly earned the right.

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Sam Cheever has a fun new Paranormal Mystery!

Independence is the most important thing to LA…but can she live with herself if her freedom ends up costing her family their lives?

She’d watched a friend succumb to the smothering control of another magical user. She’d made a promise to herself it would never happen to her. For centuries her family has worn the badge of Familiar proudly, serving a long line of powerful Witches and becoming as formidable as the ones they served. But LA doesn’t believe she needs a Familiar alliance to be strong.

Until people she cares about begin disappearing…turning up dead.

Until a powerful and handsome male Witch walks into her life and forges an inadvertent magic bond while trying to save her life.

Now she finds herself in exactly the position she never wanted. But she quickly realizes she can’t save her friends and family alone. So it comes down to losing her independence or watching everyone she cares about die.

Will LA find a way to keep her independence and still save the people she cares about most? Or will her burning need for freedom be the cause of their deaths?

###

“Look, whatever your name is…”

“Deggart Kincaide. My friends call me Deg.”

I gave him an assessing look just to make him uncomfortable. It was a flaw I had. When faced with someone who thought he might want to be my master, I showed him my hard ass b-eye-itch to convince him otherwise. The tendency might actually have something to do with the fact that at the ripe old age of twenty-nine I was already a crazy cat lady with split ends.

Unfortunately for me, my assessing look seriously backfired. My victim was six feet two inches of deliciousness, with dark brown hair that fell across his forehead in a messy fringe, wide, full lips and dark silver eyes.

I knew I was in trouble when I started to pant a little.

“LA?”

I frowned, slapping the hand away that had been waving in front of my face. “How do you know my name?”

“Brock?”

Argh! I was going to reduce that demon to fur and nails the next time I saw him.

“Well, it’s been…erm…nice to meet you, Deggart, but I’m really busy.”

I grabbed the edge of the door and proceeded to shove it against him, trying to get him to leave. Turns out a door won’t close over a hundred and eighty pound man.

“That’s actually why I’m here. I want to help you find them.”

It appeared the demon had been very talkative. “Thank you, Deggart…”

“Please. Call me Deg. Save me from my mother’s ill conceived idea of a name.”

I twisted my lips to hide a grin. “Deg. Thanks for the offer. But I got this.”

“I’ve heard about your special skill.”

Biting back a hiss, I fought for a conversational tone. Though it was really hard to speak through gritted teeth. “My special skill?” If Brock had told him things he had no right telling him…

“This place. It’s a sanctuary, isn’t it? I commend you for your work. It’s about time somebody did it.”

I stared at him, trying to decide if he was yanking my chain. “Um.”

“Really. I spoke to an elderly calico yesterday…”

Yeah, those weren’t words you heard often. “You spoke to a cat?”

“I did.” He smiled. “We all have our special skills.”

I frowned. “So you just, what? Meow and hiss at them and stuff?”

He grinned and my stomach went, kerplunk. “It’s better than licking my butt to put them at ease.”

BUY LINKS:

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

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Amazon.uk: http://samcheever.com/blog/familiaruk

Amazon.au: https://www.amazon.com.au/d/B0773T26QQ

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