Monday, September 30, 2019

Justice Gone by N. Lombardi, Jr.

Chosen by among their list of 10 Gripping and Intelligent Legal Thrillers

The courtroom scenes are wonderfully written...the characters are well described and the author paints a picture of each in the mind of the reader...Strong plot, strong characters and a strong writing style that I really enjoyed. This one is a definite "thumbs-up." Strongly recommend! I look forward to reading additional works by N. Lombardi, Jr.
~Kim M Aalaie, Author's Den

One of my favorite suspense novels of the year. It will make you question the legal system.
~The Eclectic Review

The courtroom action is excellent, trimmed to the most gripping parts of the trial, with plenty of emotional impact...a fairly realistic portrayal of the way small-town US society works...a fast-moving story with plenty of dramatic moments, and a big twist in the final pages.
~Crime Review 

Justice Gone

When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down.

A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran's counselor, is caught up in the chase.

Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa's patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers gets there first, leading to Darfield's dramatic capture.

Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge?

Read an excerpt:
“Mr. Bodine, I’m Hamilton Fiske, deputy district attorney. I’ll be prosecuting this case.”

“Didn’t we meet last year at the meeting of the New Jersey Bar Association?” Bodine asked, as his daughter collected their papers and put them in their briefcase.

“Yes, I believe we did.”

“Thought so. I never forget a voice.”

That comment threw Fiske off-center for a moment. “I just wanted to, well, shake hands so to speak, before we come out fighting.”

“Is your hand out there in the air, waiting for mine? Cause if it is, you can put it back wherever you had it. I don’t shake hands these days. And while you’re at it, you can remove that smug smile off your face. I don’t have to see it, I can tell by your tone. You’ve already pissed me off, and this is just the arraignment. So I’m not exactly in a gentlemanly mood. And if you try to set up my client by having him mingle with the others, there’ll be hell to pay. Getting my drift, son?”

Fighting words for sure, but the word that provoked Fiske the most was the condescending “son,” just as Bodine had figured it would. “Is that a threat, Mr. Bodine?”

Emily tugged at her father’s arm with the covert message that he quit this repartee. He turned to leave, but not before saying, “No, Mr. Fiske, just a consequence.”

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About N. Lombardi, Jr.

N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).

In 1997, while visiting Lao People's Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.

Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc.

His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.

His latest novel, Justice Gone was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.

Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Visit his Goodreads page here.

N. Lombardi Jr will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Thursday, September 26, 2019

An Agent for Gillian (The Pinkerton Matchmaker Series #43) by Ginny Sterling

An Agent for Gillian

Two wrongs don’t make a right – or do they?

Gillian Jameson had lost her world when her husband died. Alone, scared, and desperate for something to fill the emptiness in her soul- she turns to the Pinkerton Agency for help. What she never expected was to be married again, especially to a man like Cade Malone.

Cade had a recklessness to him that was born of sheer desperation. His wife and child were gone. He was running from memories that haunted him with every breath and nightmares that plagued him each night. What he needed was a reason to go on- and it certainly wasn’t in the form of a new partner.

Can two broken souls form a bond between them? Will seeing another person who is struggling to deal with the trauma in their lives be just the thing to help old wounds heal – or would falling for each other simply create another emotional scar that is just too great to bear?

Buy it on Amazon
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I was compensated via Fiverr for sharing this post. I only share those books that I feel will be of interest to my readers.

The Assignments by PT Dawkins

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Thriller, Financial Thriller
Published: June 2019
Publisher: Booklocker

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Jonathan Black, the notorious Wall Street equity trader, runs his desk with an iron fist. Without warning, unpredictable events turn his world upside down. Following a “friendly” corporate merger, Blackie learns the desk he used to run is gone forever. The job he cherishes has yielded to computerized, algorithmic formulas. Adding salt to the wound, he must defend himself against charges of felony insider-trading, having made $2.5 million using non-public information. He is on the street, without a job and under the gun.

Agent Margaret Stark of the FBI’s white-collar crimes unit, known for her “take no prisoners” approach, investigates Blackie. Maggie is certain that, after many frustrating months trying to unlock an insider-trading ring, she has found the key. Blackie had the means, motive and opportunity to commit the crime. The reader learns of deep personal reasons fueling her desire to take him, and all like him, down.

A direct attempt, forcing him to come clean is a complete failure. Maggie must accept that Blackie is no ordinary felon. She adopts a more subtle approach. On the surface, she will offer him a chance to clear his name by working several stings, including insider trading, mortgage fraud, jury tampering and a Ponzi scheme, where Blackie is the bait. She calls them Assignments. In reality, she designs her projects to give her adversary the maximum opportunity to trip up. When Blackie initially resists the deal, Maggie uses a carrot and stick. She argues a court would look kindly on his cooperation. On the other hand, if he refuses, she vows to continue to use all her resources to take him down.

As the assignments progress, Maggie learns there is far more to this man than his hostile trading-desk persona. While searching for clues about the illegal trade, she discovers that he is hiding his past and leading a secret, second life, including an insatiable and unexplained need for money. The mystery of the man only intensifies her desire to uncover the truth. Concurrently, the target criminals behind each assignment grow progressively ruthless. The stings are thus, increasingly dangerous. Lives, including Blackie’s are at risk.

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Chapter 1

I grimace when I see her anywhere near my trading desk.

“Good morning Blackie, how was your weekend?”

Deidra’s voice is pure as if she’s never screamed-out a single word in her life. She sashays across the room in a blue business-like skirt with a white blouse and a scarf, as if ready to pose for one of those model magazines. Her dark red nails match her lipstick. She must use a tanning machine. I can’t imagine how much time she spends on that big jet-black hair. Most female traders I know put their hair in a ponytail at work.

That’s my point, she glams-up every day. It’s all wrong. Why spruce yourself to mud-wrestle? The traders sit at identical, adjacent workstations. There is little space and no walls. Soon after the market opens at 9:30 a.m., it’s a scene of messy hair, rolled-up sleeves and undone collars. No one gives a shit how you look. They all understand, once they put their headset on and their butt in a chair they are to produce trades. When an order comes in, they shout out the name and the size. By the end of a busy day, half of them are hoarse. There’s the constant hum and heat from the equipment and the smell of too many bodies close together. After a while, they stand up to stretch; the chairs kill your back. Don’t you dare miss a trade while you’re in the can. Somebody comes by with coffee and the lunch cart.

I’m studying the three large LED monitors, each flashing arrows, symbols and headlines in white, red, green and yellow, giving me valuable market insight.

That’s the only reason any of us are here.

She’s waiting for my response. I don’t acknowledge her. I’ll never understand why some people can’t figure out what’s important. If this woman replaced her hair dryer with a computer screen and studied the overnight news instead of filing her nails, she could get a jump on the competition. I wonder how many times I’ve told her that–enough so I won’t again. That she’s standing next to me wasting time is a clear sign she’s out of touch.

I suspect Deidra and I are close to the same age. I’m thirty-two. Over the years, I’ve picked up wrinkles and extra belly roll, because I sit all day. Yes, there are things called gyms. Once the market closes, I’ve no energy for that; I am done like dinner, put a fork in me.


Does she think I didn’t hear her? She should know better than to come between my screens and me as I prepare for the market opening.

I scowl at her.

“Deidra, one of us is working. See if you can figure out which one.”

My voice sounds like sandpaper compared to hers. She makes a feeble gasping noise and shuffles over to her workstation, where she should have gone. Now, just because she’s a woman, don’t jump to conclusions. I will work with anybody: female, male, white, black, if you’re green and from Mars, it’s the same. But, if you want to talk when I’m on the desk it better be about a trade. Besides, I’m not a person you can just walk up to and flap your gums for no reason. Don’t bother me with the weather, politics or what an over-paid professional athlete did or didn’t do. I couldn’t care less how your night was or whether you got laid.

Understand this. We sit on a trading desk not at a birthday party. We’re here to help our clients buy and sell stocks. What we do is cutthroat; the rest of Wall Street does the same thing. We fight for every single transaction.

When you miss one, that commission goes into someone else’s pocket. You can never get it back.

My former boss hired and trained me. Then, without warning, at forty-four years old he keeled over. This business can take its toll. It sucked, but it got me promoted. He was a weak manager anyway and didn’t run the ship as tight as he could. Soon after I was in charge, I fired two deadbeats and with Deidra, I’d have had a hat trick, but I can’t touch the beauty queen. Every time I try, the Human Resources department–HR–says I have to train her and give her a fair chance. I keep saying, “Impossible. You can’t teach a sense of urgency. We’d be doing her and us a favor.” They keep saying, “Do it.”

The job requires you to read people, listen between the lines. When I speak with a customer, my view on the market’s direction, a news flash, or the president’s latest tweet isn’t important. Only the client’s opinion is. I hear their tone of voice. Do they sound unsure? I try to figure out which way they are leaning, never forgetting they are all, always motivated by greed or fear. You can’t believe everything they say, because there’s more bullshit on Wall Street than on a farm. Sometimes the customer is trying to screw you into doing a losing trade at the wrong price, maybe to cover a mistake he made. If he has paid us lots of commissions, you let him.

Trading takes backbone. When the shit hits the fan, it’s more-often-than-not pointing at you.

My team doesn’t like me. Ask out of my earshot, and stand back. They will call me every name in the book, which is fine. We aren’t here to make friends. They should thank me; I trained them. They’re now in a league with the best traders on Wall Street.

My phone bank contains sixty clear plastic buttons, all direct lines. One lights; it’s our biggest client. It’s only 9:15 a.m., which is odd since trading hasn’t started yet. I punch it.

“Blackie here.”

“Blackie, it’s Rocky. We have a huge stock holding for sale. I wanted to show it to you first.”

About the Author

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While P.T. Dawkins writes about "crimes of deception," his primary goal is to create characters the reader will remember long after the book is finished. He studied English at Dartmouth College, and is an active post-graduate learner including MBA and CFA degrees and creative writing training from acclaimed authors.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Review of The Last Chapter by Michelle Alstead

The Last Chapter

Emma Barton is drowning. A single mother of a son with a genius-level IQ and Autism, she’s given up on love to focus on the child who needs her. Her writing aspirations—the only dream she hasn't abandoned—withers as her latest novel bombs, and she’s dropped by her publisher.

Ethan Wise, an A-list actor, wants an Oscar, but he’d settle for being something other than a romantic comedy lead or a beefcake superhero. Discovering Emma’s novel happened by chance, but it could also be his opportunity to finally become a serious actor.

When Ethan seeks Emma out to buy the movie rights to her novel, they fall so passionately in love their lives are turned upside down.

Emma wants to be with Ethan, but there’s her son to consider and the secrets she’s kept to protect him. She’ll do anything to keep her little boy’s world safe and happy.

She’d even give up the love of her life.

Should you make a purchase through my affiliate link, I will earn a few pennies at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my websites!

**My thoughts**
I was drawn to the description of this book because Emma's son JD has autism. I spent 20 years in the classroom and had several children with autism. I also have several friends who have children with autism. So I already have a soft spot for this book before even beginning it.

The description of Emma's interactions with people at work and at JD's school rang quite true to life from what I have observed of my friends' interactions with people and some of the horror stories I remember from working in the schools. Too many people just do not understand what it is like to deal with someone with autism. So I applaud the author for bringing a lot of real to this story.

I had a hard time in the beginning with the timeline of the story. I understand doing flashbacks to reveal more about the person's past. But there was a lot of overlap even within the present time, which was rather confusing at times. For example. we would be in a chapter from Emma's point of view and she would have an interaction with Ethan. And then in the next chapter, we would go back several hours or days and read Ethan's story leading up to the point that had ended in the previous chapter. And then little bits of the storyline seemed outside the realm of realistic, even for fiction.

But then as Ethan and Emma started to get to know each other, were working on their story and screenplay, and the romance started to develop, I found myself lost in their story. I loved reading about the interactions between Emma and her son and really felt that special bond that only a mother can have with her son with autism. And then watching how Ethan was able to form a relationship with JD was also beautiful to read. That's something rare to find. I really wanted to see them succeed.

I also loved Ethan's grandmother. She is feisty and fun and the kind of person we all could use in our lives.

The only thing I really didn't like about this story was the sheer number of secrets that the two of them kept from each other, especially on Emma's side. It's too hard to have a solid foundation when you're not honest about some really big and important parts of your past. You just hope that they can literally survive as all of the truths come out.

This was a relatively easy read and kept me engrossed. It wasn't like I had to put it down and walk away from it. I applaud the author for baring her soul and putting so much of herself in the story. You can't write those kinds of interactions so authentically unless you have lived them. And while each autism story is a different one, I really felt a lot of truth in these interactions, especially due to my own interactions, as I said, as a teacher and as someone who has many friends whose children have autism. It was a different kind of romance, which was nice for a change.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Fire Song by Tanya Anne Crosby

Welcome to the book blast for Fire Song by Tanya Anne Crosby! Read an excerpt from this historical romance and fantasy and then let the author know what you think in the comments section. Be sure to follow the tour for even more excerpts and fun. Plus there's a great giveaway to enter!

Fire Song

Praised for her beauty and grace, deep down, Seren Pendragon fears a tempest rising inside her. Her mother is a witch, her sisters are in peril, and she has been promised to a beast of a man who's already murdered one king. When she and her youngest sister seize the opportunity for escape neither realizes how much their struggle will cost, and it will take a terrible tragedy to unleash Seren’s inner fire and true nature.

The Bastard of Warkworth is no stranger to misfortune. Everything he held dear vanished one night in a wisp of smoke and fire, and he has been scarred by his encounters with Seren's own mother, Morwen Pendragon. Even so, when one of the witch’s daughters finds herself in trouble, Wilhelm must find the champion within and ride to her rescue.

Read an excerpt:
If you have not guessed, my true name is Cerridwen. Creirwy, Morfran and Taliesin are all children of my blood. I took this body, thinking it might serve me, but I chose wrongly. I chose the sister, not the brother. Those two scarcely knew what mysteries they would reveal… but I thank them, nevertheless.

Emrys. Poor Emrys. Would he have lain with his sister had I not inhabited her body? I think not. And Morgan? How did she learn? Well, I suppose… a mother always knows.

Stealing over to the cauldron, I peer inside. Empty at the moment, but there lies residue and I reach down to taste the blend.

I need more coltsfoot, I think. And, of course, blood…

Mentally, I pore over the faces I saw in the tavern … a man and woman traveling together, a trader and a thief. These are my choices, and perhaps I should have them all…

Incidentally, do you how the fae were created?

They were cauldron borne to serve the Sylph.

So, you see… my daughters are gifted with fae blood, but I am born of the essence from which they draw. They are whispers of the wind from which I am formed. They are breeze-kissed whilst I am the storm. They are sparks, I am the flame. They are demigods, like the fae. But I… I am a Goddess, and once the light of this world has been extinguished like the flames of a thousand dying stars, and the hearts of men are stillborn in their cradle of night… here, I shall remain.


Kill me?

I’d like to see you try.

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If you make a purchase through my affiliate link, I may earn a few pennies at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my websites!

About Tanya Anne Crosby

Tanya Anne Crosby is the New York Times/USA Today bestselling author of more than thirty novels, including works of women’s fiction, suspense, historical romance and fantasy. Known for stories charged with emotion and humor and filled with flawed characters, she is an award-winning author, and her stories have garnered reader praise and glowing critical reviews.

Tanya has been featured in magazines, such as People, Romantic Times and Publisher’s Weekly, and her stories have been translated into eight languages. Her first novel (Angel of Fire) was published in 1992 by Avon Books, where she was hailed as “one of Avon’s fastest rising stars.” Her fourth book (Once Upon a Kiss) was chosen to launch the company’s Avon Romantic Treasure imprint. She and her writer husband currently split their time between Charleston, SC, where she was raised, and northern Michigan, where the couple make their home.


Tanya Anne Crosby will be awarding signed copies of the Daughters of Avalon series (3 books)(US ONLY) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Witches Protection Program by Michael Okon

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Date Published: 09/30/2019
Publisher: WordFire Press

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Wes Rockville, a disgraced law-enforcement agent, gets one last chance to prove himself and save his career when he’s reassigned to a 232-year-old secret government organization. The Witches Protection Program. His first assignment: uncover a billion-dollar cosmetics company’s diabolical plan to use witchcraft for global domination, while protecting its heiress Morgan Pendragon from her aunt’s evil deeds. Reluctantly paired with veteran witch protector, Alastair Verne, Wes must learn to believe in witches… and believe in himself. Filled with adventure and suspense, Michael Okon creates a rousing, tongue-in-cheek alternate reality where witches cast spells and wreak havoc in modern-day New York City.

Purchase Links
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Should you make a purchase through my affiliate link, I may earn a few pennies at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting my websites!


The narrator filled in more information. “It wasn’t until this land became my land that the government decided to create an organization to protect women at risk. The Davina Doctrine went against everything that the Willas stood for. Even though they ran the risk of persecution, the Davinas chose to work with law enforcement to expose the evil deeds of the rival sisterhood. President George Washington established secret legislation under Title VI of the Control Act of 1792. The law was enacted to protect the good witches that exposed the evil deeds of their sisterhood.”

The screen went dark. There was only a chair in the center of a dimly lit stage. A single spotlight focused on the top of the blond actress’s head. Wes was right; it was the actress he’d suspected. She had a hit sitcom and two Emmys, and there was some recent Oscar talk about her last movie.

“Yes. There are witches. Living among us. They are women who believe in using their power to protect love and life. And then there are some who use their powers for all the wrong reasons.”

The camera came to rest on her beautiful face. She winked saucily as she placed a triangular witch’s hat on her head. “Welcome to the Witches Protection Program.”

Alastair smiled broadly. “I love that part.”

“That was Jennifer Anis—”

About the Author

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Michael Okon is an award-winning and best-selling author of multiple genres including paranormal, thriller, horror, action/adventure and self-help. He graduated from Long Island University with a degree in English, and then later received his MBA in business and finance. Coming from a family of writers, he has storytelling in his DNA. Michael has been writing from as far back as he can remember, his inspiration being his love for films and their impact on his life. From the time he saw The Goonies, he was hooked on the idea of entertaining people through unforgettable characters.

Michael is a lifelong movie buff, a music playlist aficionado, and a sucker for self-help books. He lives on the North Shore of Long Island with his wife and children.

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Monday, September 23, 2019

Guardian of Angel (Father of Contention #2) by Lanie Mores

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Book 2 of the Father of Contention series
Science Fiction and Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher: Tellwell Talent
Date Published: July 29, 2019

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When evil finds a way, man becomes beast.

In the small town of Thunder Bay, 2002, Angelika Juris becomes unexpectedly linked to her guardian angel, Gavin, after a suspicious near-death experience. While trying to figure out the complicated nature of their connection, they uncover a plot so disturbing, it threatens to shift the delicate balance between life and death and eradicate the precious human gift of free will.

When her sister goes missing, Angelika must search the unforgiving terrain of the Rocky Mountains, with her guardian angel as her guide. But they find more than just her sister—a   familiar face, Renner Scholz—and a secret lab teeming with his ongoing, unhindered experiments, including the most powerful of his offspring—the triplets.

Now, Angelika must find a way to free her sister from her evil captors, along with a newfound love interest—Anthony—Renner's only normal son. Will they be able to thwart Renner's malevolent schemes and escape with their lives, or will they suffer the same fate as so many of his previous victims?

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Chapter 1

Tomas – 1984

Tomas Scholz sits upon a throne beside his father above the stones

of fire. Surrounded by splendour, he bursts with pride as all bow

down and honour them, bestowing gifts of great riches: precious

gems and stones—sardius, topaz, diamond and onyx—silver and

gold, and the rarest of artifacts collected from all over the many

realms. This destiny, although not yet achieved, awaits him after

this world has passed away, or so the shadow has promised.

In time. He must be patient.

A three-toed woodpecker, normally a quiet, shy, little bird,

hammers out a tune on a nearby dead spruce, redirecting Tomas’

thoughts away from his daydreams and back to the matter at hand.

Carrying the device with painstaking care, he reaches a clearing

in the mountains. This flat fold of land has been carefully selected

for the job, unchartered territory, a place no man has previously

travelled. The device is light despite its enormous potential for

destruction, light enough for his nine-year-old hands to carry.

The wind swells in unpredictable gusts sending uprooted weeds

and debris to tumble across the dry landscape. It is not ideal

weather to test out his experiment, on the contrary, but he is

impatient, insistent. If it were anyone else attempting this feat

they would be prudently dissuaded, encouraged to wait for more

opportune conditions. The summer had been a dry one, and the

arid conditions mixed with the gales of wind are a recipe for


But Tomas is not like other children. His abilities are powerful

enough to defy even the wind.

Besides, Tomas is too excited to see how it finally works, unable

to wait a moment longer. Adrenaline almost palpable as he flits and

floats across the glade despite his clubbed foot, preparing for the

initial trial of the weapon he has designed and built all by himself.

He is a genius. Wisdom doesn’t grow on trees; it is inherited.

Or prepared in a lab. Both methods are responsible in Tomas’ case.

Born of Renner’s sperm, he has inherited the genes for brilliance,

but his earthly father further manipulated Tomas’ genetic structure

to enhance his potential for genius. In this Renner has been


Just a child, Tomas is already capable of recombinant DNA

technology and minor medical procedures. Always the perfect

pupil. Always eager to learn more. Technology and inventing

advanced weaponry are his preferred hobbies, skills that come

to him naturally, and had he been allowed to go out in public to

submit these innovations for patenting, he would earn millions,

perhaps billions. But they are billionaires and have no need for

more money. And he is not ready to go out in public, to be exposed

to the world—the world not ready for him yet. For Tomas’ talents

don’t stop there.

Surpassing his higher level of intelligence are his supernatural

abilities, having both fathers to thank for this gift. By the shadow

entering Renner’s body that fateful night in the abandoned chapel,

his DNA changed, which was then passed on to his offspring.

These changes increased the development of DMT produced by

the pineal gland and the subsequent presentation of supernatural

abilities, the like of which have never been seen in humans.

Renner had also manipulated Tomas’ genes, splicing them with

favourable animalistic traits to increase his special abilities. The

final product is a boy who has powers that are both profound and

intense. Unrestrained. In this Renner has also been successful.

Tomas is a telepath, able to read other people’s thoughts

and desires with great ease. Most impressive are his telekinetic

capabilities, able to teleport any object, from the size of a grain of

sand all the way up to a massive Gothic castle to any location he

so desires. Able to transport his own body.

But impressive though this is, Tomas is not perfect. None of

them are. Flaws remain in Renner’s recombinant DNA techniques,

glitches he still struggles to correct with each series of experiments.

There is always an element of trial and error when it comes to

experimenting in new unexplored areas, but he has faith he will

overcome these limitations and the supernatural abilities that all

the offspring display prove he is on the right track.

Tomas is the most handsome of them all if you could call

him handsome. Hair, worn long and unruly. Taller than most

nine-year-olds, he is more muscular as well but not a giant like

some of his brothers. He prefers to wear mostly jogging pants,

jeans, T-shirts, and sweaters for there is no need to dress up here.

No one to impress. His eyes are as black as pitch and empty. Dead


Born with a cleft palate, Tomas underwent corrective surgery

as a young baby, but Renner being untrained in cosmetic

procedures, the repair didn’t go as well as planned. Tomas can

feed and communicate much better than he would have without

the surgical procedure, but a resultant lisp when speaking words

that contain the letter s has Tomas training extensively to articulate

his words. The lisp now more of an extended, exaggerated s sound.

The speech impediment isn’t as bothersome as the thickened scar

tissue between his nose and upper lip. Tomas plans on visiting

a real cosmetic surgeon who will correct the botched effort his

father performed and eliminate the scar—when he is older, when

he is permitted to venture out into the real world. He also has a

clubbed right foot that gives him a mild limp. These deformities

are considered minor compared to his brothers’. So, he has little

to complain about, this he knows.

His brothers, on the other hand, have not fared as well. The

flaws in Renner’s experiments far more evident. The deformities

more intensive, requiring massive reconstruction, the likes of

which do not yet exist. Tomas is already working diligently on

this limitation, inventing his own brand of prosthetics that will

help the remainder of his triplet brothers—his womb-mates—and

other siblings to help them be more aesthetically pleasing to the

eye or at least less abhorrent while simultaneously helping them

to channel their own gifts. Augment them.

But again, in time.

Tomas’ preparations slowly come to completion. He lopes

across the field through tussock grasses and stunted shrubbery to

the location he has deemed most beneficial for his test. He stops

amidst a patch of denser grasses and wildflowers, adjacent to a

stand of tiny gnarled aspens. Mounds of rhododendron underbrush

proudly display their yellow and white puff ball-shaped flowers

tinged with pink and lavender.

Soon their beauty will be extinguished.

The sound of a river rushing at highs speeds can be detected from

this vantage point, an important proponent for this experiment to

function smoothly.

He looks over to see if the shadow—his other father, the one

that matters most—is watching, desiring his praise. A moment of


But, the moment of weakness is short-lived. As soon as Tomas

senses approval, he commences, extending his right arm towards

the surrounding rhododendron mounds and dry grasses. Clumsily,

he fastens the contraption to his extended right wrist with plastic

straps and buckles. The weapon, a flame thrower, is like no other.

It is controlled by Tomas’ mind alone, lacking buttons or switches,

with nothing to turn it on or off, no dials to increase or decrease

its power, except by his mind’s will.

Abruptly he stops, eyes fastening on the shadow as the sound of

a woman’s scream pierces his mind. The sound is heard through

his gift, although the actual source is not much further than their

location, yet still safely out of harm’s way. Their eyes make contact,

full of mutual understanding. It is Milena, once more in the throes

of labour.

“It will be a boy,” he tells the shadow.

“Yes, yes, I know,” the shadow responds.

They are all boys, so it is a natural conclusion. However, Tomas

knows this on another level, knows it for a fact as the baby’s

thoughts can already be heard, although he is not yet born. “He

is different,” Tomas adds, before returning to his task without

further explanation.

A shiny, black crow bursts out of the shrubbery and furiously

flaps its wings, escaping barely in time, somehow anticipating

the fire that will quickly follow. Tomas telepathically transmits

a message to the weapon to eject a far-reaching rope of flame

from its tip, and the contraption immediately obliges, bathing the

mountain glade in fire. He slowly spins in a circle creating a ring

of fire around him, the flames dancing and rising as if in adoration

and worship. The intense orange from the fire’s light is reflected

in his black eyes as if tiny flames have been sparked from within

the lifeless black embers.

“It works!” he exclaims. “Father, can you see it?”

The flames continue to rise.

And rise. And rise higher still, the flames licking and lapping at

Tomas’ face and body and limbs. Searing, melting, binding. Until

flame and skin become one.

About the Author

 photo author_zpsfculbikm.jpg
Lanie Mores enjoys travelling to alternate realities, often found with her head buried in a book, binge watching Netflix, or playing video games. Although fantasy and science fiction are her obsession, she enjoys most forms of literature, and has been writing poetry since she was a wee bairn.

She has worn many hats throughout her life: cashier, medical records secretary, psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, personal trainer, and most importantly, mom. Her son is the moon of her life, her sun and stars, and she would do anything for him…destroy Terminators sent from a future realm, deflect an Unforgivable curse with her motherly love, and travel through the Upside Down to find him, even if she had to face the Demogorgon himself.

Inspired to write by Stephen King, Diana Gabaldon, Jean M. Auel and Margaret Atwood, she has big shoes to fill, but has always been a huge dreamer and has the determination to aim higher than the stars. GUARDIAN OF ANGEL is the second novel she has written and published, book 2 in the FATHER OF CONTENTION series.

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