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RABT 2 Weeks Closed

RABT Book Tours & PR will be on holiday from April 20-May 3rd.

We will be able to facilitate emails and Tours/Blitzes already scheduled during that time, but new Tours/Blitzes may not be set up until we return.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Release Blitz: A River of Silence by Susan Clayton-Goldner @SusanCGoldner #mystery #excerpt




Mystery
Date Published: January 24, 2018
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing

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When Detective Winston Radhauser is awakened by a call from dispatch at 12:45a.m., it can mean only one thing—something terrible awaits him. He races to the Pine Street address. In the kitchen, Caleb Bryce, nearly deaf from a childhood accident, is frantically giving CPR to 19-month-old Skyler Sterling. Less than an hour later, Skyler is dead.

The ME calls it a murder and the entire town of Ashland, Oregon is outraged. Someone must be held accountable. The police captain is under a lot of pressure and anxious to make an arrest. Despite Radhauser’s doubts about Bryce’s guilt, he is arrested and charged with first degree murder. Neither Radhauser nor Bryce’s young public defender believe he is guilty. Winston Radhauser will fight for justice, even if it means losing his job.





Excerpt


Prologue

1988

In only eleven minutes, Detective Winston Radhauser’s world would flip on its axis and a permanent line would be drawn—forever dividing his life into before and after. He drove toward the Pima County Sheriff’s office in Catalina, a small town in the Sonoran Desert just twelve miles north of Tucson. Through the CD speakers, Alabama sang You’ve Got the Touch. He hummed along.

He was working a domestic violence case with Officer Alison Finney, his partner for nearly seven years. They’d made the arrest—their collar was sleeping off a binge in the back of the squad car. It was just after 10 p.m. As always, Finney wore spider earrings—tonight’s selection was a pair of black widows he hadn’t seen before.

“You know, Finn, you’d have better luck with men if you wore sunflowers in your earlobes.”

She laughed. “Any guy intimidated by a couple 14-carat web spinners isn’t man enough for me.”

He never missed an opportunity to tease her. “Good thing you like being single.”

The radio released some static.

Radhauser turned off the CD.

Dispatch announced an automobile accident on Interstate 10 near the Orange Grove Road exit. Radhauser and Finney were too far east to respond.

Her mobile phone rang. She answered, listened for a few seconds. “Copy that. I’ll get him there.” Finney hung up, then placed the phone back into the charger mounted beneath the dashboard.

“Copy what?” he said. “Get who where?”

She eyed him. “Pull over. I need to drive now.”

His grip on the steering wheel tightened. “What the hell for?”

Finney turned on the flashing lights. “Trust me and do what I ask.”

The unusual snap in her voice raised a bubble of anxiety in his chest. He pulled over and parked the patrol car on the shoulder of Sunrise Road.

She slipped out of the passenger seat and stood by the door waiting for him.

He jogged around the back of the cruiser.

Finney pushed him into the passenger seat. As if he were a child, she ordered him to fasten his seatbelt, then closed the car door and headed around the vehicle to get behind the wheel.

“Are you planning to tell me what’s going on?” he asked once she’d settled into the driver’s seat.

She opened her mouth, then closed it. Her unblinking eyes never wavered from his. “Your wife and son have been taken by ambulance to Tucson Medical Center.”

The bubble of anxiety inside him burst. “What happened? Are they all right?”

Finney turned on the siren, flipped a U-turn, then raced toward the hospital on the corner of Craycroft and Grant. “I don’t know any details.”

TMC was a designated Trauma 1 Center and most serious accident victims were taken there. That realization both comforted and terrified him. “Didn’t they say the accident happened near the Orange Grove exit?”

“I know what you’re thinking. It must be bad or they’d be taken to the closest hospital and that would be Northwest.” She stared at him with the look of a woman who knew him almost as well as Laura did. “Don’t imagine the worst. They may not have been in a car accident. Didn’t you tell me Lucas had an equestrian meet?”

Laura had driven their son to a competition in south Tucson. Maybe Lucas got thrown. He imagined the horse rearing, his son’s lanky body sliding off the saddle and landing with a thump on the arena floor. Thank God for sawdust. Laura must have ridden in the ambulance with him.

But Orange Grove was the exit Laura would have taken on her drive home. The meet ended at 9:00 p.m. Lucas always stayed to unsaddle the horse, wipe the gelding down, and help Coach Thomas load him into his trailer. About a half hour job. That would put his family near the Orange Grove exit around ten.

The moon slipped behind a cloud and the sudden darkness seemed alive and a little menacing as it pressed against the car windows.

Less than ten minutes later, Finney pulled into the ER entrance and parked in the lot. “I’m coming with you,” she said.

He shot her a you-know-better look, then glanced toward the back seat where their collar was snoring against the door, his mouth open and saliva dribbling down his chin. It was against policy to leave an unguarded suspect in the car.

“I don’t give a damn about policy,” she said.

“What if he wakes up, hitches a ride home and takes out his wife and kids? Put him in the drunk tank. I’ll call you as soon as I know anything.” He ran across the parking lot. The ER doors opened automatically and he didn’t stop running until he reached the desk. “I’m Winston Radhauser. My wife and son were brought in by ambulance.”

The young nurse’s face paled and her gaze moved from his eyes to somewhere over his head.

With the change in her expression, his hope dropped into his shoes. He looked behind her down a short corridor where a set of swinging doors blocked any further view. “Where are they?”

It was one of those moments he would remember for a lifetime, where everything happened in slow motion.

She told him to wait while she found a doctor to talk to him, and nodded toward one of the vinyl chairs that lined the waiting room walls.

He sat. Tried to give himself an attitude adjustment. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as he thought. Laura or Lucas could be in surgery and the nurse, obviously just out of nursing school, didn’t know how to tell him.

He stood.

Paced.

Sat again. The hospital might have a policy where only a physician could relate a patient’s condition to his family.

His heart worked overtime, pumping and pounding.

When he looked up, a young woman in a lab coat with a stethoscope around her neck stood in front of him. She had pale skin and was thin as a sapling, her light brown hair tied back with a yellow rubber band. Her eyes echoed the color of a Tucson sky with storm clouds brewing. “Are you Mr. Radhauser?”

He nodded.

“Please come with me.”

He expected to be taken to his wife and son, but instead she led him into a small room about eight feet square. It had a round table with a clear glass vase of red tulips in the center, and two chairs. Though she didn’t look old enough to have graduated from medical school, she introduced herself as Dr. Silvia Waterford, an ER physician.

They sat.

“Tell me what happened to my wife and son.”

“I’m so sorry,” she said. “It was an automobile accident on Interstate 10.”

The thread of hope he held started to unravel. “Are Laura and Lucas all right? I want to see them.”

Her throat rippled as she swallowed. “There is no easy way to say this, Mr. Radhauser. I’m so sorry for your loss. But there was nothing we could do for them.”

All at once the scene bleached out. The tulips faded to gray as if a giant flashbulb had gone off in his face. The doctor was rimmed in white light. He stared at her in disbelief for a moment, praying for a mistake, a miracle, anything except what he just heard. “What do you mean there was nothing you could do? This is a Level 1 Trauma Center, isn’t it? One of the best in the state.”

“Yes. But unfortunately, medical science has its limits and we can’t save everyone. Your wife and son were both dead on arrival.”

His body crumpled in on itself, folding over like paper, all the air forced from his chest. This was his fault. Laura asked him to take the night off and go with them. Radhauser would have avoided the freeway and driven the back way home from the fairgrounds. And everything would have ended differently.

He looked up at Dr. Waterford. What was he demanding of her? Even the best trauma center in the world couldn’t bring back the dead.

There was sadness in her eyes. “I’m sure it’s not any comfort, but we think they died on impact.”

He hung his head. “Comfort,” he said. Even the word seemed horrific and out of place here. Your wife and son were both dead on arrival. Nine words that changed his life in the most drastic way he had ever imagined.

“May I call someone for you? We have clergy on staff if you’d like to talk with someone.”

A long moment passed before he raised his head and took in a series of deep breaths, trying to collect himself enough to speak. “No clergy, unless they can bring my family back. Just tell me where my wife and son are.” His voice sounded different, deeper—not the same man who went to work that evening.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “But when deaths occur in the ER, we have to move them down to the morgue.”

Radhauser stood. Beneath his anguish, a festering anger simmered. Laura was a good driver. He was willing to bet she wasn’t at fault. More than anything now, he needed someone aside from himself to blame.

Outside, a siren wailed, then came to an abrupt stop. The sound panicked Radhauser as he headed for the elevator, waited for the door to open, then got inside. He pushed the button to the basement floor. He’d visited this hospital morgue once before to identify a fellow police officer shot in a robbery arrest gone bad. The door opened and he lumbered down the empty hallway.

As he neared the stainless steel door to the morgue, a tall, dark-haired man in a suit exited. At first Radhauser thought he was a hospital administrator. The man cleared his throat, flipped open a leather case and showed his badge. “I’m Sergeant Dunlop with the Tucson Police Department. Are you Mr. Radhauser?”

“Detective Radhauser. Pima County Sheriff’s Department.”

Dunlop had a handshake Radhauser felt in every bone in his right hand. “I’m so sorry for your loss, Detective.”

“Are you investigating the accident involving my wife and son?” Radhauser looked him over. Dunlop wore a pin-striped brown suit with a yellow shirt and a solid brown tie—the conservative uniform of a newly-promoted sergeant. The air around them smelled like antiseptic and the industrial solvent used to wash floors. “Have you determined who was at fault?”

Dunlop hesitated for an instant. “Yes, I’m the investigating officer. From the eyewitness reports, your wife was not to blame. A Dodge pickup was headed south in the northbound lane of Interstate 10 near the Orange Grove exit. No lights. He hit her head-on.”

Radhauser cringed. The image cut deep. “Was he drunk?”

“I need to wait for the blood alcohol test results to come back.”

The anger building inside Radhauser got closer to the surface every second. Silence hung between them like glass. He shattered it. “Don’t give me that bullshit. You were on the scene. What did you see? What did the breathalyzer read?”

Dunlop’s silence told Radhauser everything he needed to know. “Did the bastard die at least?”

“He was miraculously uninjured. But his twin boys weren’t so lucky.” Dunlop’s voice turned flat. “They didn’t make it.” He winced, and a tide of something bitter and hopeless washed over his face. “The idiot let them ride in the pickup bed. Five fucking years old.”

“What’s the idiot’s name?”

“You don’t need to know that right now.”

Biting his lip, Radhauser fought against the surge of rage threatening to flood over him. “Who are you to tell me what I need to know? It’s not your wife and kid in there. Besides, I can easily access the information.”

Dunlop handed him a card. “I know you can. But you have something more important to do right now. We can talk tomorrow.” He draped his arm over Radhauser’s shoulder the way a brother or a friend might do.

The touch opened a hole in Radhauser’s chest.

“Say goodbye to your wife and son,” Dunlop said, then turned and walked away.

In the morgue, after Radhauser introduced himself, a male attendant pulled back the sheet covering their faces. There was no mistake.

“Do you mind if I sit here for a while?” Radhauser asked.

“No problem,” the attendant said. “Stay as long as you want.” He went back to a small alcove where he entered data into a computer. The morgue smelled like the hallway had, disinfectant and cleaning solution, with an added hint of formaldehyde.

Radhauser sat between the stainless steel gurneys that held Laura and Lucas. Of all the possible scenarios Radhauser imagined, none ended like this.

Across the room, two small body bags lay, side by side, on a wider gurney. The twin sons of the man who killed his family.

The clock on the morgue wall kept ticking and when Radhauser finally looked up at it, four hours had passed. He tried, but couldn’t understand how Laura and Lucas could be in the world one minute and gone the next. How could he give them up? It was as if a big piece of him had been cut out. And he didn’t know how to go on living without his heart.



###



For an entire year afterwards, Radhauser operated in a daze. He spent the late evening hours playing For the Good Times on Laura’s old upright piano. It was the first song they ever slow danced to and over their fourteen years together, it became their own.

He played it again and again. The neighbors complained, but he couldn’t stop. It was the only way he could remember the apricot scent of her skin and how it felt to hold her in his arms on the dance floor.

Night after night, he played until he finally collapsed into a fitful sleep, his head resting on the keyboard. The simple acts of waking up, showering, making coffee, and heading to work became a cruel pretense acted out in the cavernous absence of his wife and son.


About the Author


Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. She has been writing poems and short stories since she could hold a pencil and was so in love with writing that she was a creative writing major in college.

Prior to an early retirement which enabled her to write full time, Susan worked as the Director of Corporate Relations for University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. It was there she met her husband, Andreas, one of the deans in the University of Arizona's Medical School. About five years after their marriage, they left Tucson to pursue their dreams in 1991--purchasing a 35-acres horse ranch in the Williams Valley in Oregon. They spent a decade there. Andy road, trained and bred Arabian horses and coached a high school equestrian team, while Susan got serious about her writing career. 

Through the writing process, Susan has learned that she must be obsessed with the reinvention of self, of finding a way back to something lost, and the process of forgiveness and redemption. These are the recurrent themes in her work.

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Monday, January 22, 2018

Tour Kick Off: Seduced by the Screenwriter by Madelle Morgan @MadelleMorgan #giveaway #romance




Contemporary Romance
Date Published: November 26, 2017
Publisher: McBride Publishing Group

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Acting out seduction scenes in movie costumes is a beautiful ex-cop’s path to healing & love.

Traumatized by a deadly underwater dive, police diver Catrina Turner abandoned her career and escaped to Muskoka, Canada’s upscale, private vacation destination favored by wealthy celebrities. She and her retired police dog Titan provide security services to safeguard empty luxury homes over the winter. Her PTSD is a tightly-held secret…until an affair with a visitor changes her life.

Hollywood screenwriter Chett de Groot needs a hit to save his career. He accepts a movie star’s offer to use her secluded lake house as a writing retreat, and discovers a closet full of her old movie costumes.

Lonely, freezing in Muskoka, and out of ideas, Chett entices the beautiful security guard to wear costumes and role-play in love scenes for inspiration. They discover how satisfying acting can be. Soon Catrina’s ad-libbing passionate lines in scorching “performances” that knock his thermal socks off.

Chett secretly writes Catrina’s terrifying dive into a spec script. Then a film producer makes Chett an offer he can’t refuse. But when Catrina finds out, will he lose her forever?

This curl-your-toes romance can be read as a stand-alone short novel. Love music? Enjoy the optional “soundtrack”—a YouTube playlist that reflects the characters’ emotional roller coaster ride to love.



Canadian romance author Madelle Morgan is passionate about Hollywood movies and music. She set her new humorous contemporary romance series in beautiful Muskoka, Canada’s summer playground for the fabulously rich and famous, including many Hollywood celebrities.

Being neither rich nor famous, Madelle and her sisters worked in Muskoka resorts as teenagers, but hung out with (and dated) the summer crowd. Living the upstairs/downstairs trope inspired her Hollywood in Muskoka series: someone in the Hollywood film industry falls in love with a local. Madelle is the author of Diamond Hunter, a romantic suspense, and Caught on Camera, Book 1 in the Hollywood in Muskoka series.Subscribe to her blog and receive a copy of a fun short story, The Next Big Thing.



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January 22 -  Texas Book Nook
January 23 - The Indie Express
January 25 - Fantaiscando Suilibri
January 26 - On a Reading Bender
January 26 - RABT Reviews - Wrap Up

RABT Book Tours & PR

Tour Kick Off: Mask Beneath Her Face by Rafael Chandler #horror




Horror
Date Published: October 14, 2017
Publisher: Neoplastic Press

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            During the 1980s, slashers terrorized America. With machetes and masks, these unstoppable killers stalked college campuses, quiet suburbs, and lakeside cabins.

            Thirty years ago, Bobbi Metzger survived a massacre at her 16th birthday party. She spent decades putting her life back together.

            Tonight, Bobbi will face a new killer: a high-tech slasher hell-bent on opening the doorway to an abyss of unimaginable horror.

            How long can Bobbi survive this nightmare? What will she do to protect the people she loves?

            How much blood is she willing to spill?






Rafael Chandler writes novels (Hexcommunicated, The Astounding Antagonists), video games (SOCOM 4, Rainbow Six: Lockdown, MAG), and tabletop role-playing games (Teratic Tome, No Salvation for Witches, Lusus Naturae). He's a metalhead, gorehound, and kaijuphile. For more information, please visit www.rafaelchandler.com.


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January 23 -  Texas Book Nook
January 24 -  The Indie Express
January 25 -  On a Reading Bender
January 26 -  A Life Through Books
January 29 -  J Bronder Book Reviews
January 30 -  Fantastic Feathers
January 31 -  Words I Write Crazy
February 1 - Truly Trendy
February 2 - The Avid Reader
February 4 - RABT Reviews - Wrap Up

RABT Book Tours & PR

Tour Kick Off: Searching for Gertrude by D.E. @dehaggerty #giveaway #historical




Historical Fiction, Historical Romance
Date Published: January 22, 2018

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While growing up in Germany in the 1930s, Rudolf falls in love with the girl next door, Gertrude. He doesn’t care what religion Gertrude practices but the Nazis do. When the first antisemitic laws are enacted by the Nazi government, Gertrude’s father loses his job at the local university. Unable to find employment in Germany, he accepts a position at Istanbul University and moves the family to Turkey. Rudolf, desperate to follow Gertrude, takes a position working at the consulate in Istanbul with the very government which caused her exile. With Rudolf finally living in the same city as Gertrude, their reunion should be inevitable, but he can’t find her. During his search for Gertrude, he stumbles upon Rosalyn, an American Jew working as a nanny in the city. Upon hearing his heartbreaking story, she immediately agrees to help him search for his lost love. Willing to do anything in their search for Gertrude, they agree to work for a British intelligence officer who promises his assistance, but his demands endanger Rudolf and Rosalyn. As the danger increases and the search for Gertrude stretches on, Rudolf and Rosalyn grow close, but Rudolf gave his heart away long ago. 

How far would you go to find the woman you love?





I grew-up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on, from my mom's Harlequin romances, to Nancy Drew, to Little Women. When I wasn't flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before following the husband to Istanbul where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.

Searching for Gertrude is my twelfth book.




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January 22 - A Life Through Books
January 23 - NRC Books
January 24 - Texas Book Nook
January 25 - The Indie Express
January 26 - My Reading Addiction
January 26 - RABT Reviews - Wrap Up


RABT Book Tours & PR

Tour Kick Off: The Ripper by @carmeloanaya #mystery #fiction





FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Police Procedural
Published Date: November 19th 2017

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One hundred twenty-five years to the day after Jack the Ripper committed his first gruesome murder, a young woman is killed in a picturesque Spanish town. As if the eerie timing isn’t enough to unnerve Commissioner Carrillo, the murderer has mimicked the Ripper’s grisly method almost exactly.

Soon more women are murdered and their bodies horrifically mutilated. Tips and accusations fly wildly, sending the commissioner and his fellow officers chasing after suspects who might be innocent. Adding to the confusion, the killer is creating his own trail, carving mysterious signs on the bodies of his victims and texting the commissioner puzzling messages.

When the murderer reveals who his fifth victim will be, Commissioner Carrillo’s blood runs cold—he now has a personal stake in solving the atrocious mystery. Who is this villainous fiend posing as Jack the Ripper? Can he be caught before he commits his final murder?






Carmelo Anaya has published ten novels, including three previous books starring Commissioner Carrillo: The Yellow Earth, The Guardian of My Brother, and Baria City Blues. He lives in Almeria, Spain, where he works as a lawyer and a criminalist.

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January 22 - This and That Book Blog - Guest Post
January 23 - Libreria Beppe - Spotlight
January 24 - The Mystery Section - Excerpt
January 25 - Mello and June - Spotlight
January 26 - Celebrating Authors - Spotlight
January 27 - Julie Davide - Guest Post
January 28 - A Virtual Hobby Store - Review
January 28 - Rachel Jordan Books - Review
January 29 - The Voluptuous Book Diva - Excerpt
January 30 - J Bronder Book Reviews - Review
January 31 - Queen of All She Reads - Guest Post
February 1 - Chosen By You Book Club - Excerpt
February 2 - Tea Time and Books - Spotlight
February 2 - RABT Reviews - Wrap Up

RABT Book Tours & PR

Release Blitz: Screams You Hear by James Morris @JMorrisWriter #horror #releaseday #excerpt





Horror
Date Published: January 22, 2018

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Murder and madness infect a small town


For sixteen-year-old Ruthie Stroud, life on tiny Hemlock Island in the Pacific Northwest is an endless sea of boring green, in a place where everybody knows everybody’s business and nothing ever happens. Then her world is ripped apart when her parents divorce and a new man enters her mother’s life. But worse is yet to come.


When she drifts ashore on the mainland, hideously burned, Ruthie has a harrowing tale to tell. It begins with the murder of a family. It ends with her being the sole survivor of a cataclysm that sweeps her little island. As a detective attempts to unravel Ruthie’s story of murder and madness, only one horrifying conclusion can be drawn: whatever was isolated on remote Hemlock Island may now have come to the mainland. Is Ruthie safe? Is anyone?



Excerpt



Chapter One



I wake to pain, pain beyond comprehension, my skin on fire, only to find myself in a hospital bed, my arms bandaged, and wires snaking into machines. The burns are covered in white gauze and every motion, no matter how small, sends my nerves screaming. The air is heavy against my skin. And that smell. I can still smell the bitterness of my singed hair. I feel my head, expecting strands of hair, thick and wavy, but it’s gone. There are only splotches of emptiness, a topography of touch that alarms me. I wonder if it will ever grow back.

Tendrils of anxiety course through me, pulsing steadily. I need to wake up from whatever this is.

In spite of the pain, I caress my face and I have no eyebrows. Only stubble. No matter where I touch, my skin isn’t soft; it’s leather, a mask that rests too tightly against my skull. It’s like my skin is both expanding and contracting, pushing and pulling.

In the cyclone of terror, I remember. I remember everything.

I wish I didn’t. I wish it all away.

Around the room, there are no mirrors, and I know it’s no accident. It’s small comfort. I don’t want to see myself. I may never look in a mirror again. It’s only me and a bed, and colorful murals of elephants and giraffes on the wall, their cartoon smiles mocking me. I must be in the children’s wing, even though I’m sixteen. Next to me, an IV recedes into my vein. To my left is a button. It could be to call for assistance. Or to adjust the bed. But I think it’s something else. I think it’s for pain.

I could press it and disappear into numbness.

I could press it and just drift.

But there is something about pain. It’s the price of being alive.

The button is my litmus test.

I am stronger than my pain. I need to focus on something—anything. I need to distract myself.

I am not my pain.

I am Ruthie Stroud. I live at— wait—not anymore. I have a brother—no, not anymore.

I shut my eyes. I can’t shut them hard enough. Through the darkness, I still see fire. My world engulfed with flickering orange and reds. And the all-encompassing heat, heat beyond boiling, bordering on oblivion. Melting.

My last memory is coming ashore on the mainland, alone and fiercely tired. I didn’t walk, didn’t run. I moved, floating, held aloft by the most invisible of strings, my eyes on the horizon, people on the edges of my vision. Adults. I felt their gaze. The air was cool and moist and my skin so hot. Moving and moving; people staring. I hear them, words like police and 911 and oh my God. They surround me, a horde. They’re feral creatures, circling, their faces distorted. They are coming for me. I have no escape.

I scream and my world goes dark.

“Ruthie?”

I open my eyes. A woman stands in the hospital room doorway. Her skin is the color of teak, her black hair pulled into a tight ponytail, and without a uniform, she’s clearly no nurse. I look down her button-down shirt and a badge is attached to her belt, a gun holstered at her side.

She says, not unkindly, “I’m Detective Perez from the Washington State Police.”

I knew the cops would get involved, even though they’re late. Far too late.

She waits for me to invite her in. “May I?”

I nod and my skin crinkles and cracks. She enters, pulling a chair beside my bed and sits down. Her brown eyes rest on me and then dart away. She can’t bear to look. I must seem a monster. She asks, “How are you feeling?”

I don’t know how to answer that question.

“I’m sorry,” she says.

Down the hall, I hear a child scream. From surgery or fear, I don’t know. I think fight the pain, fight the pain.

She speaks to me in soothing tones. “I need to ask you a few questions. About what happened. Can you talk?”

My mouth is dry, my throat sore, my vocal chords thrashed. I’d forgotten how much I screamed. I feel my skin wrinkle into deep crevices as I move my jaw, and it’s an effort to form words. Even my tongue feels burned; this strange muscle in my mouth. “Is my dad coming?”

“He’s on his way.” We share a bit of silence and I stare at the woman she is, the beautiful woman I will never be, and she says, “I’d like to start at the beginning. And if there’s ever a point where you need to stop, just let me know, okay?”

“There’s just one thing,” and I clear my throat. I force her to find my eyes. To see. To look. To understand.

“What’s that?”

“Don’t judge me,” I tell her. “I did what I had to.”



About the Author


James Morris is a former television writer who now works in digital media. He is the author of the Kindle Scout selectees What Lies Within and Melophobia, as well as the young adult suspense Feel Me Fall and trio of short stories Abraham Lincoln Must Die. Catch him at jamesmorriswriter.com.



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