Monthly Archives: February 2021

Silently Watching at the Hunger Moon

A thick blanket of snow covered the area. It had fallen thick and fast for more than two days, creating the deepest snowfall in the area for almost a century. Nothing stirred outside the beach hut. The coastal path had all but disappeared; the dog walkers had stayed away. All was silent and still.

Inside the beach hut was a different scene. Now extended to three full rooms, it was warm and brightly lit. When he had built on the bedroom for Trine, the runner had partitioned off his own sleeping space. They used heavy curtains instead of doors, but it was more than enough to afford them their privacy. When the bedroom had been complete, he’d allowed Trine free rein on how it was to be furnished. He had built a platform to serve as her bed with storage boxes underneath. Within a couple of days, Trine had sourced bedding, cushions and curtains for the small west-facing window. She had laid a cream deep-pile rug on the bare floor. Under the cover of darkness, the runner had made a couple of trips to his former home bringing a small chest of drawers and a large vanity mirror from his daughter’s old room.

Over the weeks, Trine had added some touches to the living room too, making it more homely. He hadn’t objected.

Pouring the last of the deer blood that she kept in her leather flask into the open bottle of wine, Trine said simply, “Snow or no snow, we need to hunt tonight.”

“That could be risky,” commented the runner, accepting the wine glass from her. “We can’t risk leaving footprints or blood stains on the snow.”

The Ice Maiden nodded, “And we can’t bring our kill back here.” She paused to take a sip from her own glass then said, “We may need to take a human life, Son of Perran.”

“No,” he said firmly, shaking his head to emphasise his disagreement. “I won’t.”

“It’s been over a week since we both drank warm blood. We need to hunt soon.”

“I know,” he said with a sigh. “Tomorrow.”

“It needs to be on a cloudy night,” stated Trine. “Tonight is perfect.”

“Fine. We’ll hunt tonight,” he relented.

“We could go together,” suggested Trine softly, reaching across to touch his hand.

“We could,” he agreed smiling across the table at her. “We could.”

Hidden by the shadows, the dark angel crouched behind the rocks to the east of the beach hut, watching closely as the runner- her runner- and his vampiress left presumably to hunt. Her patience had finally paid off! The hut was empty at last. Now was her opportunity to discover who this mysterious woman was.

The dark angel watched as the runner and the Ice Maiden disappeared into the dark to the north then, satisfied that they would be gone for a while, she approached the hut. Drawing her majestic wings around her, she transported herself inside.

Scanning the room, she took note of the two wine glasses on the table before exploring the bedrooms. There was little of interest in the runner’s sleeping space. His bed was neatly made, not a thing out of place. She ran her fingers lightly over the framed photo of his family that sat beside the bed. Slowly, she inhaled the room’s aroma, relishing in the smell of him. She could almost taste that toxic exotic blood of his.

The Ice Maiden’s room was a different affair. Her bed was a crumpled mess of quilts, blankets and pillows. There were no personal effects on display to give any clues as to who she was. Several shells lay in a dish on the chest of drawers. Collected from the shore in front of the beach hut, guessed the dark angel. The only other item on top of the pine unit was a hairbrush with long strands of platinum blonde hair entwined in its bristles. Carefully, she knelt down beside the bed and slid open one of the two deep under-bed storage drawers. Inside were some books, some journals and few loose pens rolling around the bottom. The journals were filled with drawings of wild-flowers and seabirds with the occasional portrait of the runner. One caught her eye and without thinking, the dark angel tore out the page and slipped the picture into her cloak.

The second drawer was filled with the Ice Maiden’s clothes. Something, however, drew the dark angel to explore the contents further. She rummaged under the neatly folded garments. Her slender fingers found a small suede leather pouch, containing something round and hard. Taking care not to disturb the clothes, she withdrew the pouch and opened it. Inside was a small crystal ball. Carefully, she tipped the heavy ball out into her hand and gazed into it.

At first the dark angel saw nothing in it and was about to return it to its pouch when she noticed the glass appear to shimmer. Gradually it cleared to reveal a scene inside. Her blood ran cold as she recognised Stefan, the head of the Court of the Elders. Swiftly, before her side of the scene emerged in the crystal ball’s twin, the dark angel dropped it back into its suede bag.

So, the Ice Maiden was connected to the Court of the Elders but who was she? If the ball was what she thought it was, it would show the person who had gifted it to her. The only person in the scene that had begun to emerge had been Stefan. Was the Ice Maiden his precious daughter? Still mulling this over, she returned the crystal to its hiding place and closed the drawer.

With a quick glance round to check that she hadn’t left anything out of place, the dark angel drew her wings round herself and disappeared.

A small black, purple tipped feather fluttered to the floor.

A large log was ablaze in the fireplace in Stefan’s study. The Court of the Elders had been deep in discussion all day about some troublesome vampires in Rome, who were embroiled in a territorial dispute. Against his better judgement, he had agreed that Alessandro should go alone and intervene to ensure peace was restored. With a yawn, he reached for his wine goblet. He really should have gone out to hunt but he was weary. Sipping the warm blood infused wine, Stefan vowed to hunt just before dawn. Beside him on a small table next to his chair sat a crystal ball, the twin of the one he’d entrusted to Trine when she’d left the sanctuary of the castle. A flicker of purple light in the globe caught his attention. Curious, he lifted the ball from its stand and studied it. There were wisps of purple smoke in it but no clear images. It should be blue not purple, he mused as he looked deep into the sphere. Who had found his daughter’s crystal ball? Shaking his head, Stefan decided it must have been a trick of the light. His daughter was well versed in their ways and knew to keep the crystal on her person at all times. She would not have left it unattended. He placed it back on its stand as the last speck of purple disappeared.

Light was beginning to streak the sky to the east as the runner and Trine arrived back at the beach hut. His sixth sense was twitching as they stood in the courtyard outside the hut. Before unlocking the door, he stood studying the footprints in the snow.

“What’s wrong?” asked Trine, drawing her cloak around her tightly to ward off the icy cold easterly wind.

“I’m not sure,” he said as he fished the key from his pocket. “Feels like someone has been here.”

“The snow from the path is untouched and its only our footprints on the beach,” observed Trine looking round the area.

“I know,” he agreed, opening the door. “It just feels… feels off.”

Inside the cabin, everything was exactly as they had left it several hours beforehand. The only difference was that the fire was down its last glowing embers.

“I’m ready for sleep,” declared Trine with a yawn.

“Me too,” agreed the runner. “Let me add some wood to the stove to keep the place warm.”

“I could keep you warm,” teased the Ice Maiden playfully.

“You could.”

“Your bed or mine?” she quizzed with a mischievous wink.

“Mine,” he replied without hesitation. “It’s bigger. More room.”

Alone in her mausoleum, the dark angel paced backwards and forwards trying to reason out why Stefan’s daughter should be here with the runner. They may not have parted on the best of terms, but he was still her fledging and she was bound to him. She’d allowed her temper to get the better of her and been too lax in her observation of him for too long. Drawing her cloak around her, the dark angel contemplated her next move. The last thing she needed was the Court of the Elders poking their noses into things. If they found out about all the rules she had broken, she would be taken to their hidden castle, put on trial and either sacrificed or sentenced to eternal life in the castle dungeons.

If the Court of the Elders and Stefan had discovered the runner’s existence, it could also mean certain death for her regardless. Her last sentence from them, more than two centuries ago, had forbidden her from creating another creature of the night. At the very least, she had to learn more about the mysterious vampiress who was sharing his cabin with him. Who was she and why was she there?

It was the blue hour, the hour just after sunset when the last light of the day added an extra clarity to the world. Stepping outside the beach hut, Trine breathed deeply, drinking in the crisp, cold, salty air. A cold wind blew across the river from the north east, its chill biting at her pale skin. She could see the full moon, the Hunger Moon, rising above the hills. With a smile she thought that she’d satiated  her hunger on their hunt the night before. But, after spending the night with the runner, Trine was keen to hunt again.

A crow sitting on a nearby rock caught her attention. It might have been her imagination, but she felt sure it was watching her. She could feel its eyes boring into her soul. In the dying light of the day its feathers looked almost purple in places. Something about the bird made her uneasy. Turning her back on it she returned to the warmth of the beach hut.

As the door closed, the crow spread its wings and flew up to perch on the roof to watch and wait.

Once back inside, Trine checked on the runner. He was still sound asleep, sprawled across the bed, his wings relaxed over him. Even in sleep, a satisfied smile played on his lips. Resisting the urge to caress him, the Ice Maiden returned to her own room. Having drawn the curtains and lit the oil lamp, she knelt down beside the bed and opened the drawer. She rummaged among her clothes and pulled out the pouch containing the crystal ball. As she gazed into its depths, her father’s study came into focus. Probing with her mind, she tried to reach him. Her efforts were met with silence. His study lay empty.

“Well, at least I’ve tried,” she thought as she returned the suede bag to its hiding place.

A small feather lying on the rug caught her attention. It was black with a purple tip. Gently, she picked it up, noting how pretty it was. On a whim, she tucked it into the edge of the frame of the mirror that sat on top of the chest of drawers, silently wondering where it had come from.

Time to hunt, she thought as she headed back to the warmth of the main room. There was nothing lying about that she could use to leave a message for her sleeping host. Guessing he would sleep for another hour or two, she decided to hunt swiftly in the hope she could return before he stirred. Taking care to be quiet, Trine slipped out the door.

Feeling the snow on the courtyard cold under her feet, she checked to see that there was no one around then spread her wings and soared into the night.

With barely a second’s hesitation, the dark angel transformed back from her crow disguise and soared off into the darkness, keeping the Ice Maiden in her sights.

The beach hut was silent, dark and cold when the runner finally stirred. Without lighting the bedside lamp, he dressed and wandered through to add more wood to the stove. There was no sign of Trine. His sixth sense was twitching. Something was amiss. Quickly, he checked outside to see if she was sitting on the rocks beside the hut she wasn’t there. He could see her footprints in the fresh snow outside the door of the hut and little scrapes in the snow to either side from the tips of her wings. Something still felt wrong to him. On a whim, he decided to check her room to see if she’d left a note or any clue as to where she’d gone.

Her room looked exactly the same as it always did, apart from one of the drawers under the bed was pulled out slightly. Everything else looked to be in its rightful place. Then his eyes fell on it. The purple tipped black feather tucked into the mirror. It could only be one of the dark angel’s feathers.

Suddenly he was consumed with dread. She’d been here. He’d been right when he felt that something was a bit off. His creator had been in the hut the night before while they’d been hunting. However, that didn’t solve the current puzzle. Where was Trine?

Gotta be in it to win it …. Michelle A Bailey’s Tik Tok & Romance Reader Builder Giveaway

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Entering is easy… just follow the link below

https://michelle-a-bailey.com/michelle-a-baileys-tik-tok-romance-reader-builder-giveaway/

good luck 🙂

A gentle reminder…..

Yes, you can.

Spring (Haiku)

Icy east wind blows.

Sun shines on the rutted path.

Spring lies just beyond.

note: a Haiku is a three line Japanese poem of seventeen syllables ( five, seven, five) evoking images of the natural world.

Long Shadows – now available worldwide

“Folks, we’ve another new one for you next. It’s a bit of a reflection on the good times. This is Back In The Day.”

The Delta blues influences appeared to catch the crowd off guard, but they clapped along in time as Jake and Todd performed the fast paced, technically challenging song that’s lyrics focused on their good memories of Rich and the band in days gone by. With a nod, Jake allowed Todd his moment in the spotlight during the mid-song solo. He couldn’t help but smile with pride as his former student played the difficult solo faultlessly. As they continued together for the final verse and chorus, Jake mouthed, “Good job.”

“Give it up for Todd, folks!” he cried out at the end of the song. “Awesome job!”

Two songs later, Jake paused between songs for a drink of water. Screwing the lid back on the bottle, he said, “We’ve two more for you. I’d like to thank you all for coming out tonight. This is the first time we’ve done an acoustic show like this and you’ve made it easy for us. Thank you.”

The fans cheered enthusiastically. Holding his hand up for quiet, Jake continued, “Our last new song is the title track from the new record. If you were at the show in Baltimore last year you might already have heard this. This is Shattered Hearts.”

As they played the intro to the album’s title track, Jake recalled the night he first played it for his sister out on the sun deck. Holding onto the memory helped to keep his mind focussed on the song. In front of him, the loyal Silver Lakers, who had been at Rich’s memorial show, sang the chorus along with him. Their passion for the song swelled his heart.

“Thank you. That was special,” said Jake as the last notes faded away. “Now, all good things come to an end, folks. You’ve been awesome tonight. I hope you’ve enjoyed this as much as Todd and me. We’ll leave you with Flyin’ High.”

Long Shadows is now available on Amazon in both kindle and paperback format worldwide!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RR1FGLG

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08RR1FGLG

Have you bought your copy yet?

Flashback Friday Fiction – Bonded Souls

The snow was still largely untouched, creating the perfect festive background. Apart from a couple of dog walkers, this small corner of the park was deserted. Deciding to brave the cold, Lori removed her silver wrap, passing it to Scott and posed with Jake for a few quick shots, before the winter chill got the better of her. Feeling her shivering by his side, Jake called a halt. He fetched her wrap, gently placing it over her bare shoulders.

“Too cold for this, li’l lady wife,” he said, holding her close. “Let’s head back.”

“You’re right,” she sighed with a satisfied smile. “Scott, could you give us a minute alone, please?”

“Sure. I’ll head back to the car.”

Taking Jake’s hand, Lori led him down a side path towards one of the park’s many small bridges.

“You ok?” asked Jake when she stopped halfway across the bridge.

“Couldn’t be better. I just wanted you to myself for a minute,” she replied, taking both his hands in hers. “I’ve got something to tell you.”

“You have?”

Lori nodded. Gazing up into his hazel eyes, she said softly, “I’m pregnant.”

He stared at her in stunned disbelief as the news slowly filtered through to him.

“You’re going to be a daddy, rock star.”

Wrapping his arms around her, Jake held her tight, tears escaping down his cheeks.

If you want to read more then check out the Silver Lake series today

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Long Shadows – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RR1FGLG

Amazon.co.uk links  –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Long Shadows – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08RR1FGLG

Flashback Friday Fiction – Stronger Within

As she brushed her hair back into a loose ponytail, she felt butterflies of excitement building.

“This is pathetic,” she said to her mirror reflection. “I’m worse than a kid. It’s only a trip into town.”

She had just put the finishing touches to her makeup when she heard a truck crunch over the gravel in front of the house. By the time she had made her way down the hallway to the front door, Jake was already on the porch. His long hair was still damp – signs of a recent shower- and he too seemed to have taken care with his wardrobe. Behind him in the driveway she could see a black Dodge Ram pickup truck parked under the tree.

“Your chariot awaits,” he declared theatrically.

“Hi, Jake,” she smiled, stepping out onto the porch, pausing to pull the door closed behind her.

“Hi,” he replied. “Are you still ok with this?”

“Of course! I’ve been looking forward to it,” she said. “And to seeing you,” she added silently to herself.

“Ok. Let’s go then. The local metropolis awaits you.”

Getting into the passenger seat of the truck proved to be a challenge, but Jake swept in and lifted her up into the seat. He slid her crutches in behind then handed her the strap of the seatbelt.

“I hope you’re impressed. I even cleaned out the truck for you,” he said proudly. “It’s not usually so tidy.”

“I’m honoured. Thank you.”

As Jake turned on the ignition, the stereo burst into life and the cab was suddenly filled with very loud hard rock music. He reached to switch it off, but Lori stopped him.

“No worries. It’s fine with me,” she assured. “Is this the kind of stuff your band plays?”

“Yeah,” said Jake reversing out into the narrow road

If you want to read more then check out the Silver Lake series today

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Long Shadows – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RR1FGLG

Amazon.co.uk links  –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Long Shadows – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08RR1FGLG

Five Sleeps To Go…..

Five sleeps to go…..

Five sleeps to go until Long Shadows officially launches on Amazon.

Ok, the paperback version snuck out a few days early, but the kindle version lands on 14 February and, in this modern world, that’s the format that readers prefer. Sad in a way as there’s nothing like holding a real book in your hands. I may be ever so slightly biased here.

Yes, I know launching a romance novel on Valentine’s Day is a bit cheesy and it’s also a bit odd to launch one on a Sunday but the date ties in SO nicely with the storyline.

Already the “what ifs” are creeping in…..what if folk don’t like it? What if no one looks at the launch day activity on my author page on FB? What if no one, other than those wonderful souls who have pre-ordered, buys it?…. and so my mind races on and on.

I still find it really hard to believe that I’ve written a five book series. I find it surreal that I’ve written and published any books, if I’m being totally honest! I’ve said it before, but it really is a dream come true.

When I sat down on my doorstep on 8 May 2013 to begin to write the story that grew to become Stronger Within, I had no idea that it would run to five books. In my naïve innocence, I was just writing a story, which at that point I was scared to let anyone read.

That’s a fear that’s never really gone away. I guess it’s a bit like a performer getting stage fright right before they step out in front of an audience. I’d love to say that with each additional book the fear shrinks but it doesn’t really. My hands were trembling as I hit “approve” on the paperback proof recently and I know I’ll be a nervous wreck come launch day.

So, why do I put myself through it?

I guess part of it is that you can’t let your fears rule you.

The main reason though is that I love writing. It’s my escape from this crazy, cruel, fecked up world that we’re living in. In the fantasy world that I write about, there’s no virus threats, there’s no need for masks, folk can still hug each other and they can go to gigs and enjoy hanging out with their music family.

Writing this final part of the Silver Lake series was an emotional journey from start to finish. When I began the story, the world was normal, and we were all going about our daily lives quite happily…then 2020 happened… and the world went to shit. There were times in the latter half of last year that I almost put my pen down and stopped. My mantra is “Dreams get you started Discipline keeps you going” and it has taken every last ounce of self-discipline to bring this one to life.

I didn’t take the decision to end this series lightly.  As an indie author, it’s getting harder and harder to win over new readers and to keep book bloggers engaged to review the books etc with each passing book in the series. Five books in any one series is more than enough in my humble opinion. Yes, there are several successful series that have run to more than five volumes but for me five was the magic number.  

Without giving away any spoilers, Silver Lake will be back further down the line. Whether that’s in stand alone tales or another series remains to be seen. All I can promise you is that you’ve not heard the last of them…not yet.

For now though, all that’s left for me to do is to check over my launch day plans for the hundredth time and pray that you all love Long Shadows as much as I do when it lands on 14 February.

Long Shadows is now available to pre-order on Kindle worldwide

Here’s the pre-order links:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RR1FGLG

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08RR1FGLG

And if you’ve missed the start of the series, it’s not too late to catch up.

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

Amazon.co.uk links  –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

Shattered Hearts – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

It’s a day for a good book…

Why not spend Sunday curled up with a cup of coffee, a warm blanket, your kindle and a hot rock star?

To help you, Shattered Hearts is FREE to download to Kindle today.

Here’s the links

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07ZY8ZSDM

** One week to go until Long Shadows, the series finale, is released. **

Sh….it’s a secret……

Sh…don’t tell your Kindle…but the paperback format of Long Shadows has crept out early and is available to purchase worldwide now on Amazon. 😉

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RR1FGLG

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08RR1FGLG