Monday, October 28, 2013

Fire and Shadow by Susan J McLeod

Fire And Shadow
Lily Evans Mystery Series
Book 2
Susan J McLeod

Genre: Paranormal Suspense

Publisher: Imajin Books

Date of Publication: October 10, 2012

ISBN: 1926997832

Number of pages: 152

Cover Artist: Ryan Doan

Book Trailer: 

Book Description:

“When the dead need to speak, she must listen…

Artist and Egyptologist Lily Evans struggles with her newly discovered psychic talents, while trying to get her life back to normal now that her mother is in a mental institution and the man Lily loves is far away in England. But "normal" is the last thing she finds.

When her best friend Katy takes her to a Celtic Faire, Lily meets a druid fortune-teller, who warns her that she can “never escape the Other.” Frightened and angry, Lily ignores his dire warning and stumbles across an eerie old portrait of a beautiful woman, who has something to tell her.

With the help of the enigmatic druid and his gifted friends, Lily embarks on a dangerous journey to unravel the mysteries of the portrait, the tarot card reader, an ancient book and whispers of witchcraft. She must discover the truth behind them all…or risk losing her very soul.

They were coming for her.

She, who burned in the world like a flame, whose beauty drew all men, whose knowledge was so powerful it had to be buried.

How could such a life end in fire as well?

She should have foreseen the danger, yet she had depended on love and laughed in the face of hatred. She'd had time. She'd had her position and her man and her power. The people could whisper and cross themselves as she passed by, but did they not come to her for potions still? Did they not seek help when their families or their animals ailed? Hypocrites and cowards, all of them. Who would speak for her when the unthinkable happened? Who would protect her in her own home? No one.

She was alone. Her husband was away and could not fight for her. She could see the mob approaching the house. Their malice was a palpable entity. The madness in their eyes told her she was doomed. They broke down the door and burst in, Reverend Lacy leading them, quoting scripture while his parishioners chanted and prayed. The loathsome figure of Amos Woodbine wielded his heavy walking stick, his face twisted in triumph. For a moment, rage overcame her fear.

"Lecherous dog! This is how you treat your own family? I swear, you shall not long outlive this abomination." She pointed an accusing finger at the crowd. "And the rest of you— what courage, what character you possess. You bring a rabble against one small woman? How proud you must be of your virtue."

Her dark eyes flashed and she tossed her long, silky hair. More than one male heart stirred. But there could be no stopping the mob now.

 "Silence, witch! You have worked your last evil upon this town." The reverend twitched with excitement. "I consign thee to the depths of Hell."

At this signal, everyone threw their torches to the floor. The wood quickly began to burn, aided by the oil in the lamps. She glanced about wildly, seeking escape, but the cowards were blocking the doors and windows from outside. Smoke began to fill the room. Although it was becoming hard to breathe, she managed a last defiant shout. "Fools! You cannot destroy me. I shall return."
The flames crept closer, hungry for her flesh. She screamed with all her might. Then she crumpled, unconscious, to the floor.

She awoke to darkness. She was but a shadow now, lost in that dead world, yet not wholly alone. Sometimes she could hear his voice— her husband's— and it brought both joy and anguish. The man she had thought to spend eternity with, their love reduced to memories and whispers.
"Rose? Where are you?" His words were filled with longing and pain. "When shall I see you again?" But she had no answer to comfort him.

Her only hope was the portrait— her image on canvas, a gift from her husband. Into the painting had gone his love and passion and a spark of the power between them, a spark of her soul. It had been hidden carefully in the attic of the old mansion. The precious book that was the repository of her knowledge was secure as well. She and Jacob had buried it only days before, after that mad preacher had first visited their house. The book had been almost complete, but they had sensed the animosity of the town growing. It had been best to take every precaution to keep the family safe while they made their final plans.

Alas, she had not believed the townspeople would strike so quickly. Jacob had been hunting in the woods with the wolf, and when he returned, he'd found their home a smoldering ruin. Before he could even grasp what had happened, he was dead. Four shots from a townsman's gun finished the murderous business of the day. But she would not lose him. Somehow she would escape.  

Her portrait was discovered twenty-five years later by a new generation occupying the old Woodbine homestead. Struck by its beauty, they hung it on the wall with their other pictures. All were entranced by its magic, but only one had the power to understand it. Lara, a sickly girl of eleven, gazed often into the dark, painted eyes. Rose reached out and touched her mind, trying to tell her tale. For a time, it seemed that Lara would help. Rose tried to give her strength, but the frail child succumbed to illness, and the family moved away.

Rose's portrait was purchased by a merchant and carried into the next town. Over countless years it passed from owner to owner, until at last it returned to the blighted former home of murderer Amos Woodbine, the identity of its subject long forgotten. But the spell it cast had not lost its power.
The woman in charge of what was now the Morrisville Museum was unnerved by the painting and loaned it to an art gallery. Rose had waited for so long to find the right connection. Now she could feel it.

Her time was coming.

Susan J.. Fire and Shadow (Kindle Locations 148-155). Imajin Books.


The drive home was mostly silent while I struggled with the emotions raging through me. There was no doubt about it, Caliman's reading had been eerily accurate. He'd known of my psychic experiences and my efforts to try to forget them. For months now, I'd been telling myself that the visions of someone else's past life had somehow been the product of emotional stress. I was encouraged in this belief by my ex-fiancé Stephen and the psychiatrist he had recommended.

Dr. Carson's pills and calm, rational treatment had almost lulled me into seeing his point of view. Since Dame Ursula Allingham― the eccentric archaeologist who had started it all― was back in England, the paranormal was completely out of my life. And so was her grandson, Kent Ashton, the man I loved so much…

"Oh my God!" Katy's shriek and the squealing of brakes jerked me out of my thoughts. The car swerved off into the middle of the road, which was luckily free of any other traffic. Stunned, I looked around, wondering what had caused such a panic. I glimpsed some kind of large animal bounding off into the trees. "What was that? A deer?"

Katy pulled off to the side, switched on the hazards and sat there, shaking. It was a moment before she could speak. "I-I'm not sure. It could've been a dog, but it seemed… wild, like a wolf."

"There aren't any wolves around here. They live closer to the mountains, downstate. Maybe it was a husky. I hope it's not lost."

Katy let out a slow breath. "I think I lost ten years off my life. It ran right in front of us. Whew! That was close."

"Well, it's a good thing you were paying attention. Nice reflexes there." I unfastened my seatbelt. "I'll drive the rest of the way. You deserve a chance to relax."
Katy hesitated. "Okay, if you're sure. I feel like a bowl of Jell-O." She got out of the car and we exchanged places. "It's really weird though. That thing— whatever it was— was huge. And its eyes? I could have sworn they were glowing."

About the Author:

Susan Jane McLeod has been writing since she was seven years old. At age eleven she won a county-wide essay contest and her professional career was launched. By the time she was nineteen, her poetry had appeared in several magazines, including American Girl and Seventeen. She also won an honorable mention in The Writer.

She grew up in Rochester, New York, with three sisters and one brother. In her early thirties she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and given a 50-50 chance to live. After two surgeries and chemotherapy, she is cancer free today.

She has worked at several jobs ranging from a baby store to a research consultant, but her favorite was managing a bookstore, surrounded by her passion: literature. She is currently employed by a non-profit foundation that runs Zara’s Center, a home for AIDS-impacted orphans in Zimbabwe.

Susan has published several short stories and two novels. The first, Soul and Shadow, is an award-winning paranormal historical romance. The second, Fire and Shadow, is classified as paranormal suspense. Both books have been in Amazon Top 100 bestseller categories. : Facebook Author Page

1 comment:

Mila Ramos said...

Thank you for coming!