Tuesday, September 27, 2016

My Heart's Desire + Giveaway

My Heart’s Desire by Andrea Kane Tour Banner

My Heart’s Desire by Andrea Kane on Tour September 2016

  My Heart’s Desire by Andrea Kane
Book Details Genre: Historical Romance Published by: Bonnie Meadow Publishing LLC Publication Date: September 20, 2016 Number of Pages: ~ 402 Series: Book 1 in "Barrett Family Series&quot Purchase My Heart’s Desire at: Amazon Barnes & Noble or Add it to your reading list on: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Lady Alexandria Cassel scorned London's frivolous social whirl, seeking adventure as a stowaway aboard a merchant ship. Drake Barrett was the vessel's powerful captain—and a cynical duke who disdained a noble's shallow life. At sea he revealed neither his origins nor his wealth, and to Alexandria he was simply a man who made her cool reserve fly with the winds… whose desire for her was as wild as the ocean they sailed.


Caught in the crossfire of war, they were shipwrecked on an idyllic island, where they tasted perfect passion… and tenderness. But Drake dreaded the day of their rescue—when his love would discover that the virile man she adored was at the pinnacle of the aristocracy she despised. Hardly did they suspect the base treachery that would soon threaten them… and the dangers each would brave to join forever their hearts and lives!


My Review

I know this author from her psychological thrillers but I have never read one of her historical fiction stories. When I read the author's biography I realized that the author actually started out as a historical fiction writer before turning to her psychological thrillers. I read mixed reviews about this book so I was not sure about it going into it from the beginning. Yet, I was on the side of enjoyment. Alexandria is full of hellfire. I loved her willingness to stand up to Drake. She sure matched him wit for wit. They were a match made in love. Although, I know that Drake's nickname for Alex was "princess" to tease her but by the end it turned into a cute term of endearment. The moments when Alex and Drake were alone was great. I could really feel the love between them. Another person that I enjoyed seeing in this book was Smitty. Drake's right hand man. He was so kind and was a man of wisdom. After actually enjoying this book, I want to continue on with the next book and get to know Drake's younger sister, Samantha even more in book two.

Read an excerpt:

"WHAT DID YOU DO WITH MY CLOTHES?"
No storm could be as fierce as the one that raged in Alexandria’s flashing eyes as she faced Drake across the cabin. Her expression was murderous, her small hands clenched at her sides, her tone lethal.
Drake closed the door behind him with a firm click. “By ‘your clothes’ I presume you mean that dusty gown and shredded chemise you discarded on my cabin floor?” He leaned nonchalantly against the wall, regarding her with amusement.
Alex was too angry to be shocked at his casual mention of her undergarment. “You know damned well what clothes I mean!”
“Now, now … such language, my lady. I am truly shocked.”
She looked as though she might strike him.
“I demand that you return my things at once!”
His brows went up. “You demand? Careful, princess, your snobbish airs are showing. Remember, on this ship the only one who demands is me.” He crossed the room, ignoring her as if she were no more than an annoying child.
She stepped in front of him, blocking his way.
“Did you want something, my lady?” He paused, studying her livid expression. She was as transparent as glass, her anger and exasperation clearly evident on her beautiful face.
Drake grinned. “Your clothes are no longer with us.”
The color in her face deepened. “What?”
“They were torn from your adventure.”
“Liar!” she shot back. “There was no reason for you to discard them … at least not for the reason you just gave.”
Her accusing tone made him chuckle. “You are quite correct, princess. The real reason is that I cannot have you parading around in your finery. My men are already lusting after you quite openly. We wouldn’t want to further intoxicate their senses, now would we?”
“The only one on this ship who has treated me with any disrespect is you!” she retorted.
“Then be grateful that I have limited you to men’s attire. Perhaps you will be safe from my lecherous advances.”
Drake moved away, and Alex turned her back as he took off his shirt and tossed it carelessly onto the chair. Tossing his breeches next to his shirt, he put an end to her torment by climbing into his berth.
The cabin was silent. Drake could sense Alex’s presence nearby, and he knew instinctively that she was not in bed.
“Princess?”
He heard her jump. “What is it?”
He cleared his throat. “Is there some problem?”
“No … yes …” She paused. “May I use your basin and some water to wash the dirt from my face?”
Drake smiled in the darkness. “Go right ahead. And, princess … if you can find your way around in the dark, help yourself to one of my shirts. They are clean and more than large enough to protect your modesty.”
Again, silence. Then, “Thank you, Captain.”
Her bare feet padded across the room. Drake listened to her opening the heavy chest, taking out one of his shirts, and slipping it on. Splashing sounds told him she was washing, followed by her soft footsteps as she returned to her cot. Then a thud and a cry of pain.
Drake was out of bed in an instant, moving toward the sound of her choked cry.
“Alexandria? What is it?”
“I walked into the cot,” she whimpered.
“Are you badly hurt?”
In truth she was not. It had been a sudden painful blow, yet already the pain was subsiding to a dull throb. But it was more than she could withstand after her emotionally taxing day. Hot tears filled her eyes, spilled down her cheeks. Try though she would, she could not control the sobs that shook her.
“I’m sorry,” she gasped. “I never cry … and it is not that bad a bruise … I just can’t …” She shook her head helplessly, covering her eyes with trembling hands.
There was no forethought. Drake reacted instantly, pulling her into his arms.
“Shhh,” he soothed, pressing her head against his chest. He felt her tears drenching his bare skin, her narrow shoulders shaking. “It’s all right, sweetheart … don’t cry,” he murmured, raising her chin with his forefinger, wishing he could see her face. He stroked his other hand down her back, pressing her closer to him.
They became aware of each other at the same moment. He was totally naked. She was clad only in a thin white shirt. She needed comfort. He needed more.
 

Author Bio:

Andrea KaneAndrea Kane is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-seven novels, including thirteen psychological thrillers and fourteen historical romantic suspense titles.

With her signature style, Kane creates unforgettable characters and confronts them with life-threatening danger. As a master of suspense, she weaves them into exciting, carefully-researched stories, pushing them to the edge—and keeping her readers up all night.

Kane’s beloved historical romantic suspense novels include My Heart’s Desire, Samantha, The Last Duke, and Wishes in the Wind.
With a worldwide following of passionate readers, her books have been published in more than twenty languages.

Kane lives in New Jersey with her husband and family. She’s an avid crossword puzzle solver and a diehard Yankees fan. Otherwise, she’s either writing or playing with her Pomeranian, Mischief, who does his best to keep her from writing.

Connect With Ms. Kane on Facebook, Twitter, or her website.

 

Tour Host Participants:


Giveaway

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Providence Book Promotions for Andrea Kane. There will be 5 US winners of one (1) eBook copy of My Heart’s Desire by Andrea Kane. The giveaway begins on August 31st and runs through September 30th, 2016.
a Rafflecopter giveaway



Sunrise Crossing

Return to peaceful Crossroads, Texas, where community comes first and love thrives in the unlikeliest places…
 
Yancy Grey is slowly putting his life back together after serving time for petty theft. As he rebuilds an old house, he finally has a sense of stability, but he can't stop thinking of himself as just an ex-con. Until one night, he finds a mysterious dark-haired beauty hiding in his loft. But who is she, and what secret is she protecting?
The art gallery Parker Lacey manages is her life—she has no time for friends, and certainly not lovers. But when her star artist begs Parker for help, she finds herself in a pickup truck, headed for the sleepy town of Crossroads. A truck driven by a strong, silent cowboy…
 
Gabe Snow has been a drifter since he left Crossroads at seventeen after a violent incident. When he accepts a job in his hometown, he'll have to decide whether he can put the worst night of his life behind him and build a future in the community that raised him.
 
My Review

I am a fan of author, Jodi Thomas and her Harmony series. I would put Jodi's Harmony series in the same league as Robyn Carr's Virgin River series. I just loved the town of Harmony and the characters. I have been having some trouble getting into this new series by Jodi. Although, I must say that for me I felt that this book was the weakest. Try as I might I just could not really connect with any of the characters or their storylines. Yet, the town of Crossroads, Texas is nice. There was nothing too intriguing about the characters in this book. I got about half way and then found myself more skimming the rest of the story hoping that it would get better. I know that the author can make me fall in love with her characters and books. As I stated this is probably my least favorite book in this series. I am hoping that I can find that love and passion again with this author's next book or series.


CHAPTER ONE

 Flight

January 2012

LAX
 

VICTORIA VILANIE CURLED into a ball, trying to make herself small, trying to disappear. Her black hair spread around her like a cape but couldn’t protect her.

All the sounds in the airport were like drums playing in a jungle full of predators. Carts with clicking wheels rolling on pitted tiles. People shuffling and shouting and complaining. Electronic voices rattling off numbers and destinations. Babies crying. Phones ringing. Winter’s late storm pounding on walls of glass.

Victoria, Tori to her few friends, might not be making a sound, but she was screaming inside.

Tears dripped off her face, and she didn’t bother to wipe them away. The noise closed in around her, making her feel so lonely in the crowd of strangers.

She was twenty-four, and everyone said she was a gifted artist. Money poured in so fast it had become almost meaningless, only a number that brought no joy. But tonight all she wanted was silence, peace, a world where she could hide out.

She scrubbed her eyes on her sleeve and felt a hand touch her shoulder like it were a bird, feather-light, landing there.
 
Tori turned and recognized a woman she’d seen once before. The tall blonde in her midthirties owned one of the best galleries in Dallas. Who could forget Parker Lacey’s green eyes? She was a woman who had it all and knew how to handle her life. A born general who must manage her life as easily as she managed her business.

“Are you all right, Tori?” Parker asked.

Tori could say nothing but the truth. “I’m living the wrong life.”

Then, the strangest thing happened. The lady with green eyes hugged her and Tori knew, for the first time in years, that someone had heard her, really heard her.

 
Jodi ThomasJODI THOMAS has published over 30 books in both the historical romance and contemporary genres, the majority of which are set in her home state of Texas. Publishers Weekly calls her novels "Distinctive...Memorable," and that in her stories "[tension] rides high, mixed with humor and kisses more passionate than most full-on love scenes." In 2006, Romance Writers of America (RITA) inducted Thomas into the RWA Hall of Fame for winning her third RITA for THE TEXAN'S REWARD. She also received the National Readers' Choice Award in 2009 for TWISTED CREEK (2008) and TALL, DARK, AND TEXAN (2008). While continuing to work as a novelist, Thomas also functions as Writer in Residence at the West Texas A&M University campus, where she inspires students and alumni in their own writing pursuits.
 
 



Q&A with Jodi Thomas – Sunrise Crossing

 

1)      Community is very important in all your books. How are you involved with your community in Texas?

I often feel like I live in two towns.  My home is in the historical part of Amarillo where I grew up and taught school.  Fifteen years ago I accepted an appointment as Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M in Canyon, 15 miles from my home.  Now, I very much feel like I live in both towns.  I’ve volunteered in the schools, churches, museums and art galleries.  I’m a member of library boards, book clubs and historical societies.

But, the most fun thing I do is work with beginning writers in both communities.  Last month I spoke to the writing rally at a grade school and the same week I gave a talk on writing memories for grandchildren.  My office doors are always open to students who are writing and we often fill a table at the local coffee house as we talk writing.

 

2)      Sunrise Crossing is the fifth book in the Ransom Canyon series, how does that feel?

It feels great.  I couldn’t wait to get started on this book.  The characters had been dancing in my mind waiting for their turn.  Sunrise Crossing has one of the most tender love stories I’ve ever written plus a layered mystery that will keep readers awake.  Yancy stepped into the series in the first book and readers couldn’t help but love him.  In this story, he gets his chance at love.

3)      Where do you draw inspiration for Crossroads, Texas?

I wanted to use a very small town that most people simply drive through.  If readers stop, they’ll step into lives and loves that are deep and fascinating.  I also saw the town as a crossroads for people where their lives could go in more than one direction.  We all face those times thinking that we’ll turn down another road for a while without ever realizing that we’ll never pass that crossroad again.

4)      Parker Lacey manages an art gallery. Do you have a personal favorite? 

The first time I went to the MET in New York I was lost to the real world for hours.  When I saw Mona’s Lilies at MMOA I cried they were so beautiful. No matter how many times I go I will never have enough time to see the wonder of it all.I went to Paris last spring and didn’t get to see the Louvre.  I’ve got to go back!

5)      What would you say is your one writing quirk?

I like to write in total silence.  No music.  Then I can hear my characters talking to me.  All other times I listen to music.

6)      Where is one place you want to visit that you haven't been before?

I have a hundred places I want to go back too.  Ireland, Paris, Alaska, New York, San Francisco, the Grand Canyon.

But best of all is that first look at new land.  That excitement of an explorer about to discover a new world.  I understand why my ancestors came west.  I love the excitement of what is just over the horizon yet to explore.

7)      Do you write every day?

Yes.  I think a part of my brain is always writing.  Like a pack rat picking up bits of stories, phrases I hear, dreams that linger.  I may not have a notepad or computer in sight, but I’m cobbling together stories in my mind.

8)      The covers of your Ransom Canyon series are always stunning! Does your original idea of the cover end up as the final?

I work with a great team.  Sometimes we go through several cover ideas.  They do the work because I see the world in words.  My friend laughed at me once when I told her that sometimes I dream in words.

9)      What’s one question that you wish someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Write it out here, then answer it.

Why do you put so many twins in books?

I often put twins in books because I have twin sisters two years younger than me.  To me, the average family has twins.  My sisters are identical.  Our father couldn’t tell them apart.  I’ve said I am against cloning because look what happened when the egg split with them.  I had two great years of childhood and from then on my job seemed to be watching over them.---I’m still doing it.

10)  What are you working on next?

I’m putting the finishing touches on book five in the series WILD HORSE SPRINGS. It’s going to have a few surprises for Crossroads.

As soon as I finish I’m heading to New Mexico.  We have a place on the Red River where I’ll take some time to think about Book 6.  “See you on the Red.”

All Good Children



It's the middle of the twenty-first century and the elite children of New Middletown are lined up to receive a treatment that turns them into obedient, well-mannered citizens. Maxwell Connors, a fifteen-year-old prankster, misfit and graffiti artist, observes the changes with growing concern, especially when his younger sister, Ally, is targeted. Max and his best friend, Dallas, escape the treatment, but must pretend to be "zombies" while they watch their freedoms and hopes decay. When Max's family decides to take Dallas with them into the unknown world beyond New Middletown's borders, Max's creativity becomes an unexpected bonus rather than a liability.


My Review

For being a book geared toward the young adult readers I thought this was a good book. It had the feel of the movie , Disturbing Behavior featuring Katie Holmes and James Marsden. I liked the references that the author put in the book with Body Snatchers and the Stepford Wives both being metaphors. The younger readers may not get this reference or even be familiar with the movies but for the older adult readers like me who are into reading young adult books, I got it and liked it.

I was glad that Max was so defiant in his quest to figure out what was happening to all of the students. It made me really stand up and cheer for him. While the idea is scary and I could actually see it happening in today's society, I wanted there to be a stronger voice as the bad guy(s). Yet I understood the mildness of the story as it was geared to a certain reading audience. This is a quick read. I am intrigued by this author and plan to check out more books by the author.

Monday, September 26, 2016

This Road We Traveled

Tabitha Brown refuses to be left behind in Missouri when her son makes the decision to strike out for Oregon--even if she has to hire her own wagon to join the party. After all, family ties are stronger than fear.

Along with her reluctant daughter and her ever-hopeful granddaughter, the intrepid Tabitha has her misgivings. The trials they face along the way will severely test her faith, courage, and ability to hope. With her family's survival on the line, she must make the ultimate sacrifice, plunging deeper into the wilderness to seek aid. What she couldn't know was how this frightening journey would impact how she understood her own life--and the greater part she had to play in history.

With her signature attention to detail and epic style, New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick invites you to travel the deadly and enticing Oregon Trail. Based on actual events, This Road We Traveled inspires the pioneer in all of us.

My Review

I read A Light in the Wilderness and liked that that book was also focused on the Oregon Trail. A great piece of history that people should know about. Thus the reason I was looking forward to reading this book. Yet, something happened and I was less then enthralled to read this book. I tried really hard to stick with this book as I wanted to read more about the Oregon Trail; however, I just could not find myself gaining any type of human connection with any of the characters in this book. After reading about 4 chapters in a row without really comprehending what I was reading I realized I was just more going through the motions then soaking in the story. Sadly, I put this book down after a third of the way into it. I hope that the next book by this author has me cheering again.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Tall, Dark and Damaged



His Life Changed in a Heartbeat
Disinherited as a teen, Devon Ashby returns home twelve years later as a ruthless CEO, brilliant at negotiating deals, but emotionally stunted. In an instant all he’s struggled to build implodes. Amid the turmoil of saving his company from a hostile takeover, his engagement to a business partner’s high-society daughter hits the rocks. Compounding his troubles, he encounters his high school sweetheart, whose heart he smashed. The vulnerability she awakens leaves him at greater risk than all the crises he faces.

Her Dream Job May Get Her Killed
While restoring art in a billionaire’s private gallery, Hannah Moore is unwittingly drawn into the dysfunctional family’s confidences. When she discovers the rich developer behind her and her sick aunt’s eviction is the family’s black-sheep son—the lover she’s never gotten over—her desire turns to fury. Always one to avoid conflict, Hannah must stand up to Devon and the growing menace of someone who thinks she knows too much.

A Decades-Old Secret Turns Deadly
When a family member is murdered, Devon and Hannah become ensnared in sibling greed, festering jealousy, and a tragic secret that’s divided the family. Amid their reigniting passion they race to expose the killer before they become the next victims in this cat-and-mouse game of survival.


My Review

I had some trouble getting into this story. It took me a long while to warm up to Devon and Hannah. Not only as individuals but as a couple as well. I did not really know their history at first and yet in the beginning all I knew is that Devon and Hannah had a great love and could not stop thinking about each other. So, I had a hard time believing that they shared this great love; especially when it seemed like they did not interact a lot with each other for a while in the story. The conversation was fine but not a lot else happened either for about half way. Then the story of the investigation started being revealed slowly piece by piece. It was not until the last third of the book when I would say that the story really came together and it got interesting and picked up speed. This book may not have won me over but I would read another book by this author.

You can read the first 4 chapters of this book here

Friday, September 23, 2016

Private Paris


Paris is burning--and only Private's Jack Morgan can put out the fire.

When Jack Morgan stops by Private's Paris office, he envisions a quick hello during an otherwise relaxing trip filled with fine food and sightseeing. But Jack is quickly pressed into duty after a call from his client Sherman Wilkerson, asking Jack to track down his young granddaughter who is on the run from a brutal drug dealer.

Before Jack can locate her, several members of France's cultural elite are found dead--murdered in stunning, symbolic fashion. The only link between the crimes is a mysterious graffiti tag. As religious and ethnic tensions simmer in the City of Lights, only Jack and his Private team can connect the dots before the smoldering powder keg explodes.

My Review

I have only read a hand full of books by Mr. Patterson. Some by himself and others with co-authors. One of my favorite co-authors is Mr. Andrew Gross. I have read almost every book that Mr. Gross has written himself. That is one thing I do have to give props to by reading these books co-authored with Mr. Patterson is that I discover new authors. Just like with this book. Although, this is the first book I have read in this series. I thought it was good. It did move at a nice, steady, fast pace with plenty of action. Jack and Louis worked well together. In the beginning I thought that Louis and Jack were steps behind the bad guys. However they showed that they were smart and there was a few times where they even surprised the bad guys. If it was not for Louis and Jack the police would still be standing around with their pants around their ankles. My only real complaint about this book was that the story was good as was Jack and Louis; I just did not form a connection with the rest of the characters in the story thus in turn I was only half interested in what happened to them. Yet, I enjoyed this book enough to go back and check out the first book in this series.

Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island

Inside the Book

Title: Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island
Author: Michael Phillip Cash
Publisher: Chelshire, Inc.
Pages: 192
Genre: Paranormal/Horror
Paul Russo’s wife just died. While trying to get his family’s life back in order, Paul is being tormented by a demon who is holding his wife’s spirit hostage on the other side. His fate is intertwined with an old haunted mansion on the north shore of Long Island called Stillwell Manor. Paul must find clues dating back hundreds of years to set his wife’s soul free.

For More Information

My Review


    For a short book, this is a good one. I would have liked the horror level to be a little more amped up but for the most part it was there. The first time that I really found what was happening to Paul spine-tingling was when he was visiting Stillwell for the first time. The images of the crime scene was gruesome. Not to mention the creature that had Paul's dead wife hostage. It is the type of thing that does exist in nightmares and should only stay there. I thought the author did a nice job of intertwining the history of Stillwell with the present events. All in all, I was happy with this book and the ending. I would read another book by this author.

Meet the Author

 
 
Michael Phillip Cash is an award-winning and best-selling novelist of horror, paranormal, and science fiction novels.  He’s written ten books including the best-selling “Brood X”, “Stillwell”, “The Flip”, “The After House”, “The Hanging Tree”, “Witches Protection Program”, “Pokergeist”, “Monsterland”, “The History Major”, and “Battle for Darracia” series. Michael’s books are on the Amazon best-seller list and have also won numerous awards. Additionally, he is a screenwriter with 14 specs under his belt. Michael resides on the North Shore of Long Island.
For More Information

Book Excerpt:

Paul turned from the dark window, twitching the drapes back in place. It was cold in the house; it had the dank feel of being unused. It had only been empty for a week, and yet it held a stale feeling of overripe food and decaying garbage.

The kids would be coming home tomorrow. He had sent them to his sister’s place for the past week. It was too hard to have to worry about their schedules when he was sitting by Allison’s side. The funeral was yesterday, and he asked his sister to keep them one more day. He needed to have some time to collect himself. He’d spent the last twenty-four hours sitting in the dark, staring at nothing, his mind too numb to think.

Lisa had taken over with the brisk efficiency of the nurse that she was trained to be. Stella was eating once again and Jesse and his twin, Veronica, were able to sleep at night. His sister’s was the safe house, and while he desperately missed his children, he couldn’t deal with their everyday drama while he stayed with Allison for her final weeks. 

He played with the chain around his neck then placed the gold band that hung from it on his lips. He closed his eyes, feeling alone. It was his wife’s wedding band and it had never left her finger from the time he had placed it there almost fifteen years ago.

Everything happened so fast. Too fast. His mind replayed the last six months in a montage of colors flashing like an out-of-control merry-go-round. Only it wasn’t a happy ride. Well, he sighed, he had to admit that he did feel relief. It felt wrong to have this burden taken off his shoulders, but his wife didn’t have to suffer anymore. He admitted to himself that he was weary too. She had gone from bad to worse in such a short time. She had slipped into a coma. He held her skeletal hand for a solid week, watching hope die alongside his wife. His family had brought in food, but he felt no hunger. As he stayed by her side, nothing seemed important. Paul stared at her face, memorizing every curve, her deep dimple, the mole she hated above her upper lip. Every second counted, and he wouldn’t waste a minute on himself. His future yawned ahead in a great vastness of nothing that stretched endlessly before him. Alone, mute, and his thoughts jumbled in his head, he couldn’t find words to say what he needed. Did she know how happy she had made him? Did Allison understand how much she meant to him? Could she know that his heart was so numb, he felt as though he were a corpse? Though he sat caressing her hand, could his wife sense the man next to her was spent, empty? It was that burnt-out feeling like after drinking so much that the liquor loses its taste and cigarettes burn with dying fire.

The irony was that he was the smoker, even though he had stopped when the twins were born, thirteen years ago. Allison wouldn’t have it in the house. He cheated at work, chewing gum to disguise the smell on his breath. It had always been a huge fight, and while she painted all kinds of devastating scenarios if he continued to smoke, they never expected her to be the one to fall victim to cancer. 

The twins were a rare handful for them. Married for just over a year, they were unprepared for the incessant work. He was building his reputation as a go-to guy for the McMansions that dotted Long Island’s North Shore. The pull of work and two newborns tested their marriage. Allison breast-fed until utter exhaustion—or as he liked to call it “udder” exhaustion—made her stop. She always laughed at that.

Jesse, his son, was all brooding intensity, while Veronica, the elder twin by six minutes, was sweet, faithful, and resilient. They were golden children, kissed by sunlight, with blond hair, freckles, and odd silver eyes, like their mother. They communicated in a strange language that worked only for the two of them. A silent collusion between the twins created a special insight, and they knew exactly what the other was thinking. When words finally arrived, they could finish each other’s sentences. 

While he was happy with his family, Allison had wanted another child. Reluctantly, he agreed and was shocked at his devastation when she miscarried. His despair turned to relentless hope, and although they faced a period of secondary infertility, he pushed for seven years, and they became pregnant once again. He called her “Stella Luna,” because she was the stars and moon to him. 

With Stella, he had time to play. She was a fey child, filled with whimsy and a touch of an old soul.

Brown-haired and brown-eyed, she was the image of his older sister. Shut out of the twin’s world, he made sure she never felt alone. When she turned two, her soulful brown eyes induced him to give up smoking once and for all. God, he wished he had a cigarette. Right now.

The house screamed with silence, its heavy pall smothering any sense of light. It closed over him. The acid ache in his gut he’d been experiencing since she got sick made its presence known. Padding to the kitchen, he went in search of milk to put out the fire. After he opened the refrigerator door, he stood for a minute staring at the empty shelves. He smelled the open carton of milk and recoiled at the odor. He never remembered buying it and could only guess how old it was. Well, the milk was plainly spoiled, as was the cheese. They had to be at least a month old. Maybe he should just eat the yogurt, let it kill him, and the kids would be done with mourning. Two for the price of one, he thought as he slammed the door. He’d have to go food shopping at some point. Yep, the kids were coming home tomorrow.