My BFF talked me into trying my hand at writing. This will be the public site for my posting, my WIP comments, Short Stories, Poems, and just general thoughts on my writing journey. I welcome everyone to read and post comments. Constructive criticism is welcome, trolls…not so much. ;}
Combat Outpost Khilagay, Afghanistan – 2011
It was December in Afghanistan and a faint dusting of snow blanketed the dirt of the outpost. But it was stifling in the tent housing the or, the heaters running at peak as the temperature outside dipped below freezing.
Faint Christmas music drifted in each time the or doors swung open to admit another casualty, transfer a patient to the neighboring recovery tent. Or when removing a body to the smaller tent set up as morgue.Just after breakfast a call came that the SEAL team assigned to the territory around the outpost had been ambushed in a small Afghan village. Three of the eight man squad were injured during the attack, as well as the young Afghan man… boy really… that served as interrupter for the team. More than a few of the friendly villagers had been hurt as well. Once the fighting ended, all the wounded had been evacuated back to the outpost for treatment.
Air Force Captain Holly Rowan’s forehead creased in concatenation as she focused on stopping the blood that spilled from the young Afghan man’s body. The organized chaos of the tent that served as the Forward Surgical Element (FSE) operating room barely registered as she worked. More of an irritation was the ever present flies that buzzed around her head and her patient. The Army nurse standing across from her shooed them away from the young man’s open wounds. A bead of sweat formed on her temple, gradually slipping down the side of her already damp face.
“Shit…” Blood splashed the front of her blue scrubs. “Get a clamp on that bleeder!” The medic next to her reached in and clamped it off.
“Got it, doc.” A soft southern drawl assured her.
“Vitals?” There was too much blood, too much damage. “Come on, kid…” Holly muttered behind her mask. “Don’t die on me…”
“Bp is seventy over forty, pulse irregular, respiration…” the nurse across from her broke off as a loud beep sound from the monitor. She shifted to glance at Holly. “We’ve lost him!”
“Shit…shit…shit….” Hands flying, Holly continued to work on the young man, “Hang more units of blood and bag him.” Her mind raced as it searched for a way to save this kid’s life. He’d been hanging out around the camp for the last two years, becoming a part of the daily existence in the dirt that was Combat Outpost Khilagay. The SEALs took him under their wing, giving him small tasks to do and errands to run before accepting him as a translator when meeting with the locals. Everyone in the camp seemed to adopt the bright, grinning young man. Aamir was only seventeen and she would not let him die.
Holly glanced up at the screaming monitor, seeing all the lines flat on it.
“No… no…” She hissed. “Come on… live damn it.” As if willing it to provide some hint of activity.
“I need more blood…” A hand settled on her shoulder.
“Enough.” Major Dawson, the post commander, spoke from behind her. “You can’t do anything further for him, Captain.” His tone was quiet but there was hint of steel in it. “We still have people that need our help.”
“It’s… it’s Aamir, Major.” He acknowledged her words with a slight squeeze of her shoulder.”I know, Holly.” Sorrow colored his voice, the use of her name offering his support. It was always hard to lose a patient, but when it was someone you considered a friend, the was so much harder.
Doctor Holly Rowan clutched at the armrests of the small commuter plane as it rocked side to side. The winds sweeping across the runway seemed to think the landing plane was a ping pong ball it could bounce around. Deadhorse, Alaska was flat and open to the winds that swept in from the arctic sea, making any landing hard. Flying wasn’t a problem for her. She had been in the Air Force and had flown in many different types of aircraft, and in all types of weather during her service.
But seeing the older, bright red Cessna 206H Stationair setting on the tarmac in Fairbanks, it’s single prop spinning, a fissure of dread had run through her. The plane looked dirty, battered and so… so small. Smaller than anything she’d ever flown on in her years in the Air Force.
The planed dipped to the left and her grip tightened to the point that her bluntly trimmed fingernails almost pierced the leather armrests. “Oh god… please just let us get on the ground in one piece.” A glance out of the window showed the plane just coming in over the end of the landing strip.
It rocked right for a second before leveling out. Holly released the breath she hadn’t even known she’d been holding as the plane touched down with some bumps and bounces. Once settled on the runway, it zipped toward a low roofed building midway down the tarmac. Holly pulled her cell phone from the large carry on bag she’d jammed under her seat and turned it on. She wanted to double check the information for last leg of her journey.
“Crap!” The plane made a bumpy right turn and her phone slipped through her fingers, thudding to the floor at her feet. Holly released a frustrated sigh and leaned forward to pick it up only to have it slide out of reach under her seat. “Shit!” She bit out and reached for buckle of the seatbelt that rested low across her hips. The plane was still moving but if she was careful…
“Excuse me?” The voice came from the seat behind her and she turned sideways in her seat, leaning over the arm rest to see a girl holding her phone. “I think you dropped this?”
“Thank you so much!” Holly took her phone back with a small smile. “I worried it would get stepped on, bouncing around like that.”
“Oh, no problem. I’m Jilly Rose.” The girl introduced herself with a bright grin that had Holly smiling for the first time since leaving Seattle. Jilly had boarded the small plane in Fairbanks, along with two men. The men had gotten off at Fort Yukon, leaving the two women to go on to Deadhorse.
“Holly Rowan.” Holly offered with a small smile. “Nice to meet you, Jilly Rose.” It had been a quiet flight from Fort Yukon to Deadhorse. Both women had been lost in their own thoughts while the pilot was busy flying the plane.
“Just Jilly will do.” There was a loud “click” from behind Holly as Jilly slid forward in her seat. “Only my mama calls me Jilly Rose.”
“Welcome to Deadhorse, Alaska.” The pilot, a grizzled old man of indiscriminate age, boomed from the open cockpit over the plane’s noise. “And let’s keep those seat belts buckled until we’ve stopped rolling, OK folks?” He paused. “That means you, Jilly Rose!” A loud sigh sounded from behind Holly, followed by an audible click.
Holly grasped the end of her seatbelt and tugged on it once, making sure it was snug across her hips. The terminal building grew bigger as the plane darted toward it not seeming to slow down at all. Holly braced herself, sure that the plane’s brakes didn’t work and they were going to crash through the building. At the last minute, the pilot jammed pedals to the floor and took a hard left, coming to an abrupt standstill ten feet from the low building. The propeller slowly came to a stop as the old pilot turned his seat to address his passengers.
“OK, folks, we’ll be on the ground about twenty minutes, long enough to take on fuel, then be back in the air to Barrow.” He turned the other way and shouldered the door next to his seat open and rushed around the plane to open the larger door. “This is your stop, Miss.” Holly took the hand he held out and stepped to the ground. She swayed as the solid ground seemed to rock for a moment under her feet before.
One gnarled hand of the old pilot wrapped around her arm, steadying her. “Are you alright, Miss?” Concern filled his voice and Holly looked at him, seeing that same concerned echoed in his eyes
“I’m fine,” She’d regained her equilibrium and smiled. “Everything just rocked for a second.”
“Yeah, that happens sometimes, when you’ve been cooped up for a while.”
Originally posted on Filosofa's Word:
Rosa Maria Hernandez … you are likely to hear that name a lot in the coming days, for she is, at age ten, one of Donald Trump’s “bad hombres”. Rosa Maria came to the…
Words are hard to come by after what happened here in Las Vegas on Sunday. But I’ll start off with a simple we’re safe. Hubby and I were at home safe and sound Sunday night. His youngest daughter was staying with us that night too. She had been staying down on the Strip for a few days before that. She was with us to visit with her dad before flying home to Hawaii on Monday. We are so thankful she was here with us and on the Strip.
I watched things unfold on TV that night in shock. This is MY city! How could this be happening HERE? I was still in shock Monday.
In the aftermath of this horrific event, my city has come together to support those involved and those of us that, while not directly affected by it, still feel most of the same emotions. Shortly after this started, the citizens of Las Vegas were lining up to donate blood all over the valley, sometimes waiting over 12 hrs to give. Water and food was being delivered by regular people to our first responders and anyone that need care. Restaurants, hotels, airlines, the cab companies, Lyft are all offering services to people needing them. THIS is what makes America great! Our caring for each other. Now we just need to make that caring an everyday thing, not just something that we rise up to be in times of shocking events. I’m so proud to be a member of the Las Vegas community. And to the brave members of the police, the fire departments, ambulance crews, and other EMS. THANK YOU! You guys ROCK!
I had all these feelings inside of me, a jumble of words that I felt needed to be put in order. Finally, yesterday afternoon I mix those words with what I was feeling and posted them to my Facebook. This is what I said:
We have been through this before, someone starts shooting, people die, the news organizations run with 24 hour coverage. Collectively, we as a nation grieve and send our thoughts and prayers to the victims and their families. We use hash tags to show our support for communities affected by heinous violence.
But after last night, watching it happen in MY town, I understand that I really had no idea just how these acts of violence affect those living it.
I wasn’t at the concert last night. I don’t know if anyone I know was. I can’t imagine how those that were there or their families feel. But I do know how I feel right now. Anxious, shocked, afraid, helpless, confused.
I truly feel I now know how the people of those other communities felt.
I hope, with all my heart, that no one has to go through what my city of Las Vegas is going through right now.
I hope… but I expect this will happen again and again until we find a solution to the gun issues.
Sig Olson was pissed. It was evident in every ridged line of his body as he stalked down the wide corridor leading to his office in the North Pole, Inc. main building. When he’d strolled into work this morning, he’d been in a good frame of mind. Even seeing the front counter of the North Pole, Inc. security center empty didn’t get a rise out him. He sighed and not for the first time wondered why he allowed himself be persuaded to hire Alabaster Snow’s baby sister, Alvira, as their receptionist. Where Alabaster was thin, wirier, and a lot more OCD, Alvira was plump and free spirited. She was also loud, opinionated, a tad messy, and was often late to work. Even as pissed as he was right now, his lips twitched in a slight smile. Everyone loved Alvira. Sig’s lips tightened in anger again as he walked to the left side of the reception area, where his office door was ajar. He shoved it open without even glancing at the nameplate mounted there that read Sigbjorn Olson – Chief of Security.
God, I despise that name! He thought as he walked around his massive desk and dropped into the comfortable leather chair. His parents had given him the powerful name to go with his bear side. No kid, polar bear or not, should be saddled with a name like Sigbjorn. His name had been the bane of his existence, no one got it correct when using it even when he’d enlisted in the Navy. While he was in basic training that it had been shortened to the easier to use nickname of Sig. He’d ignored his full first name until following his SEAL commander and best friend, Chris Kringle, to Mistletoe, North Pole after leaving the service. Within days of their arrival he’d been offered the job of running both the corporation’s security and that of the town of Mistletoe. It wasn’t a complicated task to perform given that Mistletoe was small and located in the arctic. Outside of a few fights at Rudy’s Diner, there wasn’t a lot of trouble in the small town. And so few outsides made there way this far north that any problems from them were nonexistent.
Until now. Sig growled and leaned his elbows on his desk, scrubbing them down his face. Kristopher Kringle, CEO of North Pole, Inc. and his boss had just hand him an job that would definitely spell trouble. For him.
Yeah it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here or on my author’s page. July started out good, but ended in fear and chaos. The chaos was when there was a surprise layoff at my work. Or should I say my former work. Yep, I was laid off, cut, kicked to the curb. After 16 years, let go. I can’t talk about the details but I feel like I’ve lost family and friends.
So where do I go from here? Well, I’m working with a company to polish up both my resume and me personally. I’ve one meeting so far and it gives me hope. Once I get my resume back, I’ll start flooding the local market looking for a job. In the meantime I’m working on my writing and being a stay at home wife.
I also looked at just flat out retiring now. I’m 62 and half so I could do it now, but I’d lose a good chunk of change between pulling it now and waiting 3 and half years. I decide to stick it out for now and wait for now.
Financially I’m OK with paying bills and such for a 5-6 months. As long as I don’t do any needless spending. It does mean that until I get back to work I can’t do much with outside writer stuff (editing, book covers, etc) so I’ll do a few round of editing on my own and move on to my next book. I’ll do a WIP post after this.
But I’m OK. And I will be OK. I’m strong and have a good support system. My hubby is supporting me and I’m so thankful for that. It cause less stress. Oh and I can now play the lottery!
But hey… if anyone out there in the Vegas area has a job lead, hit me up!
This is why I’ll never put my books in Kindle Unlimited (KU). It’s a shame that scammers and fakes can get away with stuff like this while honest authors struggle to do it right.
On Friday, a book jumped to the #1 spot on Amazon, out of nowhere; it quickly became obvious that the author had used a clickfarm to gatecrash the charts.
The Kindle Store is officially broken.
This is not the first time this has happened and Amazon’s continued inaction is increasingly baffling. Last Sunday, a clickfarmed title also hit #1 in the Kindle Store. And Amazon took no action.
Over the last six weeks, one particularly brazen author has put four separate titles in the Top 10, and Amazon did nothing whatsoever. There are many such examples.
I wrote at the start of June about how scammers were taking over Amazon’s free charts. That post led to a phone conversation with KDP’s Executive Customer Relations.
Repeated assurances were given that the entire leadership team at Amazon was taking the scammer problem very seriously indeed. But it was also stressed that the…
View original post 2,302 more words
I’m thrilled to say that the first draft of my second book is done! Yes, I finished it yesterday after a week of struggling with where it was going. I just felt I had gotten off track with this story and wasn’t happy with the last few chapters. But after a chat with my BFF (I’m talking about you, Calen!) I’ve found my way back to loving it. I did cut a little over two and half chapters from the end of the book but I think it makes for a better ending.
I’m going to post something from the last chapter, than I’m stepping away from Taylor- Paranormal Operations, Inc. for a week or so, clear my head, and then start the first round of edits. In the mean time, I’ll jump on one of the other wips I have started. Also I’m getting some requests for the next Mistletoe, North Pole story (Sig and Holly’s story).
Devon leaned on the balcony railing a pair of sweat pants hung low on his hips, and watched as the sun rose over the snowcapped summit of Mt. Hood. The sun’s rays transformed the snow into a million sparkling crystals. He smiled as he brought a steaming mug to his lips, sipping cautiously at the hot, rich coffee. This was his favorite time of the day, when the air was cool and crisp, and Portland was just beginning to wake up. He lifted his mug again but paused midway to his mouth.
No, he mused, my favorite time of the day is when I slip into bed next to Taylor and pull her tightly into my arms. He smiled as he took a second sip of his coffee and his body began to harden at the remembered sensation of her body spooned into his. Yeah, that’s it, that’s my favorite time. A slight frown crossed his face, Of course when he woke up each morning and she was cuddled up to him was a pretty spectacular time as well. Or when they were fresh out of the shower and her body glistened wetly…
“Hey, sweetheart,” A soft voice pulled him out of his reflections. “Why the frown?” Warm arms reached around his waist just above the waistband of his sweats. He’d been so lost in his thoughts that he hadn’t heard the sliding glass door open. Not good for a trained agent like him.
Devon looked over his shoulder at his beautiful mate and grinned. They had been back in Portland for nearly six months now and he had no regrets about making the move half way across the globe to be with this woman.
There were elements of Portland that reminded him of Ireland, the green all around them and the rain. And in the time they been back, Taylor’s condo had become their home. He’d been a little surprised at how quick they had grown accustomed to each other’s living habits.
Even working for Axel Jackson was good… now. There had been some hostility at first between the two men until Taylor had set them both straight one night at Axel’s bar. She’d lost her temper when he’d thought Axel was getting a little too friendly with her. Now he knew that the big shifter was like a brother to her.
“I was just deciding what time of day is my favorite.” He responded. Taylor moved in front of him, her arms still encircling him and peered up with a puzzled expression on her face. He set his mug down on the railing and wrapped his brawny arms around her, pulling her close.
“Umm… favorite time of day?” The same puzzlement in her face was in voice.
“Yeah, you know, like when the sun breaks over the mountain,” He glanced over her head, to the glittering peak. “Or when I slip into bed each night with you…” He trailed off as Taylor chuckled.
“Ahh…I see,” She grinned up at him. “And what time did you decide on?” she asked with a slight tilt of her head. He was quiet for a moment than bent his head and kissed her tenderly, his tongue running over the seam of her lips until she opened them. She moaned as he deepened the kiss, his tongue caressing hers. After what seemed like forever, he raised his head and whispered his answer against her kiss swollen lips.
“Anytime that I’m with you, baby.”
Devon lifted his head and laughed at her sassy come back. His laughter died off as the opening bars of Sweet’s Bar Room Blitz came from inside of the condo. Taylor sighed and stepped back as he released her.
“Are you ready to get back to work, sweetheart?” She questioned.
“No,” Devon replied in a low voice as she snagged his hand and led him inside. “I prefer to take you back to bed and never come out.” He watched her pickup her cell and swipe to unlock the screen.
“Hi, Axel.” She answered with wistful glance at her mate. “What’s up?” She paused. “A job?” Devon raised one eyebrow. “Yeah, ok, we’ll be there in about an hour.”
“So, going back to bed is out of the question?” Devon asked Taylor as she hung up. She gave him a seductive look and reached out for the string of his sweats. He groaned at the fire in her eyes.
“That depends on now quick you are, Mr. Brady.”
OK, here’s something a bit lighter then the last few excerpts from Taylor and Devon’s story. I’m dedicating this one to my BFF Calen! She called me last night to encourage me to not give up on this story! Big *HUGS* BFF!!
Taylor slowly opened her eyes and a languid smile formed on her lips at the feel of a hard body pressed into her from behind. She could tell that Devon was still sleeping from the light puffs of breath that caressed her neck each time he breathed out. They had woken up in each others arms every morning since coming back from the north and the defeat of William Regan a week ago.
The first several days had been hell for them. Between the debriefings with Shay, the reports that had to be filled out and dealing with Taylor’s aunts, they’d had limited opportunities for only themselves. At last, Devon had roared enough! and tossing Taylor over one broad shoulder had retreated to their suite of rooms and locked the world out. They hadn’t left the bed for more than food and showers since.
Her smile shifted into a grin when he gave a snort and mumbled her name. Devon had one arm slung over the top of her and one of his legs was resting over hers.
Wiggling deeper into his body she froze for an instant when her butt encountered his thick cock. Mischief filled her and she wiggled right up against that steel shaft and gently rocked her butt until it slid between her butt checks.
“Careful, baby,” a gravelly voice caressed her ear. “We’ll have to pick up where we left off last night if you continue moving like that.”
Taylor giggled. “Don’t you mean this morning, love?” She gave a slight gasp as Devon flipped her to her back and covered her body with his. His legs parted Taylor’s and he settled between her thighs, his cock brushing her naked mound. His muscular arms held his upper body up so he wouldn’t crush her under his weight.
“Last night, this morning…” He dropped a swift kiss on her lips. “It’s all same.” His grin was devilish as he rocked his hips forward, his cock sliding between her wet folds. “No panties…” He teased.
Taylor’s arms went around his neck and she brought his lips down to hers and whispered against them.
“You ripped them off of me last night, Devon Brady.”
“Yeah, well, they were in my way.” He said unapologetically and smirked.
Taylor’s eyes became solemn as she gazed up and into his.
“I love you, Devon Brady, I will always love you.” One finger caressed his cheek, “My mate, my life.”
Devon’s eyes were equally serious as he stared into hers.
“And I love you, Taylor Connor.” He turned his face so his lips were brushing her now open palm. “Mo ghra, mo chroi, mo maité fíor.” His words, mere whispers in the ancient language, sent quivers through her body. They were quiet for several minutes, absorbed in each other.
The buzz of a phone vibrating on the bedside stand brought them both back to the present. Devon glanced over at his with a frown.
“Did you turn the phones back on, baby?”
“No,” Taylor replied with a frown of her own. “I mean we were pretty occupied when you carried me in here, but I thought we turned them off.” The buzzing ceased and Devon looked back at Taylor with a perplexed expression. “But maybe we didn’t…” She trailed off.
“I thought we had…” He broke off when the phone began buzzing again.
Taylor sighed and pressed on Devon’s chest. “You should get that.”
Devon looked down at her. “Why?” he asked.
“We’ve been in here nearly a week, Dev,” She pushed a little harder. “And we did sort of leave matters just hanging. I think we’re lucky Shay wasn’t up here pounding on our door days ago.”
With a grunt, Devon heaved himself up and off of Taylor. His gaze caressed her body even as he reached out for the phone.
“I don’t know, babe, he might have.” he replied. “I think I remember hearing something like pounding two days, or was that nights, ago.” He winked at her. “I thought is our hearts pounding from all the great sex we were having.” Taylor’s face turned a delicate shade of rose. He swiped the phone’s screen without looking at the caller I.D.
“Brady.” He answered. If she had to guess, Taylor would bet that was Shay, demanding they return to Ops and complete the whole Regan business. The voice on the other end was loud enough to know she was right, on both counts.
“Look, Shay, we”ll…” Devon began to say before Shay interrupted. She could hear him speaking, and but couldn’t make out what he was saying.
“If you’ll just shut the hell up for two seconds!” Devon shouted into the phone. There was silence at last. “I was going to say, we’ll be down as soon as we shower. Give us ten minutes.” He glanced back at Taylor sprawled on the bed and grinned. “Make that twenty minutes.” And he hung up.
Taylor raised her eyebrows, “Did you just hang up on the boss?”
“Yeah, I did.” He stood up and held out a hand to her. “We have twenty minutes to shower before we have to be in Ops.” She stretched out and let him haul up from the bed and into his arms.
“It doesn’t take that long to shower, sweetheart.” Taylor glanced up at him with a wicked grin and desire in her eyes.
Devon chuckled. “Oh, I can assure you, we’ll use every one of those twenty minutes, baby.”
“Will we?” She questioned rubbing against his body. He groaned. “And what do you have in mind?”
Devon bent his head and started whispering in her ear. Taylor’s eyes widened before becoming half lidded as she listened to what Devon planned to do to her. When he raised his head, his grin was wide.
“Well?” He asked.
She shifted out of his arms and headed to the bathroom, her generous breasts bouncing and her firm butt swaying. She peeked back over her shoulder and gave Devon a saucy smile.
“Come on, lover boy.” She sassed. “I have a few ideas of my own.”
“Hell, yeah!” Devon enthused, following Taylor into the bathroom in all his naked splendor.
From Chapter 34 (not edited):
Aveta stepped forward when Kaden disappeared, as if she would go after him. A muffled moan from the couple on the floor stopped her. She glanced in their direction than back the shadows in front of her. Her lips thinned into a taut line as she stood for several seconds, uncertain of what to do next. A louder groan made the decision for her. She crossed to where Devon was moving restlessly on the floor. Taylor was as still as death in his arms.
“Wake now, Devon Brady.” Aveta whispered. She closed her eyes and sent a thread of her essence into the man, tickling along his nerve endings and simulating his mind. She could feel consciousness returning to him. He’d used his mate bond with Taylor to pursue her into the Ether to bring her back. But before she could come back, he had to remove the athame from where it was embedded in her heart.
“Taylor…” Devon groaned and opened his eyes. His body was stiff from being on the floor so long and he shifted his legs, grimacing as sharp tingles ran up and down his limbs. Taylor’s body moved with his but was still a dead weight in his arms.
“Taylor!” Devon looked down at her pallid face, his eyes seeking signs of life. “Come on, Mo ghra, come back to me. Open those incredible eyes!” Her body remained still. Devon looked up at Aveta standing over them.
“Do something, dammit, you’re a fucking Goddess!” He demanded. “I did what you said to do and went after her. She was coming back with me!” One finger touched Taylor’s faint blue lips. “Why isn’t she…”
“The athame is blocking her from coming back.” Aveta explained. “Only you, her true mate, can remove it before she can travel back to this world.” She gazed at Taylor. “There’s no more time, Devon, you have to do it now or she’ll be lost to this world.”
“Remove it?” He questioned as he squinted up at the Goddess. “How the fuck do I do that? Just yank it out?” Aveta shook her head and sighed.
“You grasp the handle of the blade and slowly, smoothly draw it out.” She answered. “Yanking it out would damage her heart and she may actually die.” Devon cursed under his breath and wrapped the fingers of one hand around the athame handle. It warmed at his touch and he was conscious of power singing within the blade. His fingers tightened and he began to slide the blade from his mate’s heart.
“Careful, Devon.” Aveta whispered and he stiffened, glareing at her before returning his attention to the athame. Inch by inch he withdrew it from Taylor’s heart until at last the point of it pulled clear. Blood saturated the hole and begin to spead out in an expanding bright crimson blotch on her shirt.
“Fuck!” Devon cursed as he dropped the bloody athame and pressed his hand over the wound. Instinctively he forced his magic into the wound but as exhausted as his magic was it didn’t appear to diminish the flow of blood.
“Fuck!” Devon cursed again, desperation in his tone. “I can’t stop the bleeding.” A cool touch brushed the side of his cheek and a quiver of pure, light magic flowed through him and into Taylor’s open wound. He watched as it began to close up from the inside, breathing a sigh of relief as the bleeding slowed, than stopped. Next the wound closed until it was only a faint scar on Taylor’s breast. Devon’s body tensed as for the space of a few heartbeats nothing happened. Suddenly Taylor’s body lurched and she gasped, drawing in a deep lungful of air. Her eyes, when they opened, were a swirling violet hue. The whiteness of her cheeks changed to a pale pink and the tip of her tongue peeped out from between her parched lips, struggling to wet them.