Thursday, December 8, 2016

Dark Legends Author Spotlight: Wilder: The Guardian Series by GK De Rosa @vampgirl923 @CelesteWilder18 ~ A Startling Discovery about a Family Legacy that Changes Life Forever. #ASMSG #PNR #DarkLegends #GKDeRosa


by 
Rebecca Hamilton, 
T.F. Walsh, Monica Corwin, J.L. Weil, Laxmi Hariharan, JA Culican, Muffy Wilson, 
GK DeRosa, Marilyn Peake, Kevin McLaughlin, Carissa Ann Lynch, 
Vivienne Savage, Anna Hub, HJLawson, Emma Nichols,Shelley Munro, J.A.Armitage, Leilani Love, 
Demelza Carlton, Xyla Turner, D.S. Murphy, J.T. Williams


This Collection is packed with more than 20 full-length Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance reads from New York Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling Authors! 

Don’t miss this collection of more than twenty unique twists in paranormal romance and urban fantasy, providing over one million words of supernatural suspense that will transport you to new worlds with smoking hot action and heart-throttling adventure!

The DARK LEGENDS boxed set includes: Mermaids, Sirens, Shifters, Vampires, Dragons, Sorcerers, Warriors, Angels, Faeries, Demons, Witches, Psychics, Ghosts, Mythology, Folk Tales, Legends, Dark Magic, Time Travel, and More!


Rebecca Hamilton 
T.F. Walsh with Demon's Mark
Monica Corwin with Soulless
J.L. Weil with White Raven
Laxmi Hariharan with Redemption
JA Culican with The Keeper of Dragons, The Prince Returns
Muffy Wilson and The Para-Portage of Emily
GK DeRosa with Wilder: The Guardian Series
Marilyn Peake with Shade
Kevin McLaughlin with By Darkness Revealed
Carissa Ann Lynch with Midnight Moss
Vivienne Savage with Making Waves
Anna Hub with Beyond the Shadows
HJ Lawson with New Order
Emma Nichols with Blood Moon
Shelley Munro with Claimed & Seduced
J.A.Armitage with Two of Clubs
Leilani Love with Violca's Dragon
Demelza Carlton with Ocean's Gift
Xyla Turner with Broken Treaty
D.S. Murphy with Scarlet Thread
J.T. Williams with Winemaker of the North




Amazon     iBooks     Kobo     Nook





Wilder: The Guardian Series
by
GK De Rosa
@vampgirl923
Award-Winning
and
Int'l Bestselling Author 


All that Celeste Wilder ever wanted was to find someone who would sweep her off her feet like she had seen in countless romantic movies. When she meets the gorgeous and mysterious Constantin brothers her senior year of high school, she gets much more than what she had bargained for. As they introduce her to an exciting supernatural world that she never imagined existed, she makes a startling discovery about her own family legacy and is forced to make a decision that will change her life forever.


Finally, she found the romance novel she wanted, the newest one from the series she had been obsessing over, and made her way to the checkout desk. She turned the corner and abruptly collided with someone. She dropped the book, which slapped against the marble floor with a disconcertingly loud thud, echoing through the cavernous room.

“Oh, I’m so sorry!” she blurted, without looking up as she bent down to pick it up. As she stood back up, her heart skipped a beat. Before her stood a towering, well-built young man with wavy, raven hair, chiseled jaw, and eyes as blue as the summer sky. Celeste felt her cheeks grow hot. Embarrassed, she flushed even redder.

“No problem. Sorry, I should have been watching where you were going, I guess,” the stranger said, eyes twinkling.

Looking into those deep blue eyes, Celeste was completely at a loss for words. She watched helplessly as he walked away, disappearing further into the library.


GK De Rosa


Featured Book: Wilder: The Guardian Series

Hi all! I have to start off by saying I’m so glad this isn’t an in-person interview or else you’d be seeing the huge bags under my eyes from all the sleepless nights I’ve been currently having. Nope it’s not from spending hours at the computer writing – I like to think of them as my new mom badges of courage J I thought writing was hard until I had a baby! So there’s a little bit about my personal life and now onto the fun bookish stuff.

How long have you been a writer and how did you come to writing?
Technically speaking I’m pretty new to writing as I just wrote my first novel, Wilder in 2015. But when I was younger I used to love my Literature and English classes and wrote many essays, short stories, poems, etc. not to mention I did a ton of reading. I guess I got back into writing when I moved to NYC and started a restaurant review blog – food is my other passion J It reminded me how much I loved writing and then when I moved back to Florida (my hometown), I felt the creative juices flowing and decided to write a novel. It was really on a whim, I just sat down at my laptop and started typing.

How did you come up with this storyline?
I’ve always been a fan of YA novels so that was a given, and I’m a total romantic at heart so there had to be some cute love story. Then coupled with my fascination of all supernatural TV shows, the idea for Wilder was born. I grew up watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer (tv show, not movie), Angel, and Charmed then got into The Vampire Diaries and True Blood. I’m a huge TVD fan and love the Elena and Damon storyline which is where I got a lot of inspiration for Celeste and (*spoiler*). But I didn’t want Celeste to just be some powerless girl, I wanted her to be the kick-butt heroine. 
         
What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?
The best is definitely the ability to get lost in your imagination. It’s such a cathartic experience to create characters and worlds that are instilled with bits and pieces of your own life. The worst is probably the editing! Going back over and over again until it’s perfect – which we all know it never is.

What inspires you to write?
My over-active 15 year old imagination. It’s just so much fun for me and I absolutely love it!

How did you conduct your research for Wilder: The Guardian Series?
Luckily I didn’t have to do much research for Wilder. That’s the beauty of fantasy, it doesn’t have to be based on anything real. I was quite familiar with the vampire folklore and I added a few twists here and there. The Guardian mythology was also something I created so again not much research involved. In subsequent books in the series my main characters travel to various European locations that I’ve visited so again it’s all from my personal experiences.

What are 3 of your favorite quotes from Wilder: The Guardian Series?
Ooh that’s a tough one! The most popular quote according to my readers is:
~ “Roman inhaled deeply as she walked in, her scent intoxicating. He could hear her heart racing and the blood pumping through her veins.”
And here are two of my favorites – of course they’re lovey dovey ones: 
~ “You are the one that needs to be careful Roman. You are falling in love with her.”
~ “She smiled looking into his deep blue eyes feeling as though she were being swallowed up inside of them – wanting to be.”

More Favorites from Wilder: The Guardian Series:
A favorite excerpt:
Finally, she found the romance novel she wanted, the newest one from the series she had been obsessing over, and made her way to the checkout desk. She turned the corner and abruptly collided with someone. She dropped the book, which slapped against the marble floor with a disconcertingly loud thud, echoing through the cavernous room.
“Oh, I’m so sorry!” she blurted, without looking up as she bent down to pick it up. As she stood back up, her heart skipped a beat. Before her stood a towering, well-built young man with wavy, raven hair, chiseled jaw, and eyes as blue as the summer sky. Celeste felt her cheeks grow hot. Embarrassed, she flushed even redder.
“No problem. Sorry, I should have been watching where you were going, I guess,” the stranger said, eyes twinkling.
Looking into those deep blue eyes, Celeste was completely at a loss for words. She watched helplessly as he walked away, disappearing further into the library.

What would your friends say is your best quality?
Probably my perpetually happy personality. I’m generally smiling and an easy going person. I love to laugh and have fun. Why spend your life being so serious all the time?

Are reader reviews important to you?
Absolutely! As an author it’s the only way to get feedback from your readers. Sometimes reviews can be harsh, but that’s how you become a better writer.

What do you do when you don’t write?
I watch way too many TV shows! Well let me backtrack, I used to anyway. Now that I have a three month old, I spend every waking moment with him. I also have a German shepherd who was my first baby – our fur baby if you will and I love going on walks with him and my husband or sitting on the balcony in the sun.  

Tell us about your other books?
I finished the entire Guardian Series in July. There are 4 books in total – Wilder, Wilder Destiny, Wilder Revelation and Wilder Legacy plus a novella Finding Wilder. Writing the last book was bitter sweet, I didn’t want it to end. The characters became like family to me and not writing about them anymore made me sad. And so I’ve decided to start on a spin-off series in the next few months. I’m super excited!

If you could share one thing about yourself that you would like readers to know what would it be?
This is just a little something fun – as I mentioned I’m a huge Vampire Diaries fan and I totally love Ian Somerhalder (my husband is totally not jealous), who plays Damon Salvatore. So my friend and I went to a TVD convention right before I published Wilder and I brought a copy to give to Ian as a gift since it was his character and show that inspired my book. He was such a sweetheart and was really appreciative when I gave it to him and he asked me to sign it for him. So my first signature as an author was to Ian Somerhalder! And we even took pictures with him and Wilder      

Thank you for this great interview and a huge thank you to all of my Wilder fans out there. Writing Wilder was the most fun I’ve ever had and the fact that I am now able to make a career out of it is incredible. It’s proof that you can really love what you do. So everyone out there, follow your dreams and work hard and they’ll become a reality. And of course go buy the Dark Legends collection – there are so many amazing authors and stories that you won’t want to miss out on!

I love hearing from my readers so please feel free to reach out!
Contact me:
Email: gkderosa@wilderbook.com
Twitter: @vampgirl923 or for Celeste herself - @CelesteWilder18
Instagram: GKDeRosa 
Goodreads: G.K. DeRosa
  


From an early age, G.K. De Rosa showed a passion for reading and a very vivid imagination. She was instilled with a love of storytelling by exemplary teachers in her early years of Catholic school and that first love was never forgotten. Though she pursued a degree in International Business from the University of Florida, she eventually came back to her creative writing roots years later. Drawn to young adult novels and being an eternal romantic at heart, an urban fantasy romance was a natural choice for her debut series. She currently lives in South Florida with her real life Prince Charming and their newborn as well as a fur baby, Nico, the German shepherd.




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 Thank you 
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Live ~ Laugh ~ Love
with Passion






© 2000-2016 Muffy Wilson. [Muffy@MuffyWilson.com] All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

JACK'S MAGICAL BEANSTALK series by Pablo Michaels @PabloMichaels1 ~ #ASMSG #MMRomance


JACK'S MAGICAL BEANSTALK series
by Pablo Michaels

Dark Legends Boxed Set Author Spotlight: Two of Clubs by J.A.Armitage ~ Fifty-two weeks, four royal families, one war. #ASMSG #PNR #DarkLegends #JAArmitage


by 
Rebecca Hamilton, 
T.F. Walsh, Monica Corwin, J.L. Weil, Laxmi Hariharan, JA Culican, Muffy Wilson, 
GK DeRosa, Marilyn Peake, Kevin McLaughlin, Carissa Ann Lynch, 
Vivienne Savage, Anna Hub, HJLawson, Emma Nichols,Shelley Munro, J.A.Armitage, Leilani Love, 
Demelza Carlton, Xyla Turner, D.S. Murphy, J.T. Williams


This Collection is packed with more than 20 full-length Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance reads from New York Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling Authors! 

Don’t miss this collection of more than twenty unique twists in paranormal romance and urban fantasy, providing over one million words of supernatural suspense that will transport you to new worlds with smoking hot action and heart-throttling adventure!

The DARK LEGENDS boxed set includes: Mermaids, Sirens, Shifters, Vampires, Dragons, Sorcerers, Warriors, Angels, Faeries, Demons, Witches, Psychics, Ghosts, Mythology, Folk Tales, Legends, Dark Magic, Time Travel, and More!


Rebecca Hamilton 
T.F. Walsh with Demon's Mark
Monica Corwin with Soulless
J.L. Weil with White Raven
Laxmi Hariharan with Redemption
JA Culican with The Keeper of Dragons, The Prince Returns
Muffy Wilson and The Para-Portage of Emily
GK DeRosa with Wilder: The Guardian Series
Marilyn Peake with Shade
Kevin McLaughlin with By Darkness Revealed
Carissa Ann Lynch with Midnight Moss
Vivienne Savage with Making Waves
Anna Hub with Beyond the Shadows
HJ Lawson with New Order
Emma Nichols with Blood Moon
Shelley Munro with Claimed & Seduced
J.A.Armitage with Two of Clubs
Leilani Love with Violca's Dragon
Demelza Carlton with Ocean's Gift
Xyla Turner with Broken Treaty
D.S. Murphy with Scarlet Thread
J.T. Williams with Winemaker of the North




Amazon     iBooks     Kobo     Nook





Two of Clubs
by
J.A. Armitage 
@armitageauthor
Award-Winning
and
Int'l Bestselling Author 

Fifty-two weeks, four royal families, one war.

Week one - January 1st - January 7th

Rose (The Two of Clubs) is the youngest of all the Royals of Vanatus, and she has a lot to prove. Born a princess, but with the heart of a warrior, she struggles to keep her two lives separate. By day, a perfect princess, but in the dark of night, she slips out to practice being all she ever wanted to be, a warrior like her brothers. When a dragon kidnaps some children from the royal castle, she must act quickly, but the snap decision sets off a chain of events that lead to the first war in the history of Vanatus, spelling disaster for both her and her family.

Follow the lives and loves of the fifty-two members of The Houses of Club, Heart, Diamond and Spade in real time as they struggle to maintain peace in the world of Vanatus.

This is a New Adult fantasy series set over the course of one whole year. This particular book is the first in the series and is set over the first week from New Year's Day to 7th January from the eyes of Rose Club. Each book in the series will be shown through the eyes of a different character, all within the world of Vanatus. Each book can be read as a standalone book (no cliffhangers), but the overall arc of the war will play in the background throughout. 


I looked down at Tarragon and his lady friend.
The Hearts, Diamonds, and Spades were supposed to be kept to the nicer parts of the castle. No one was supposed to see the kitchens. Not that I suspected the sleeping Heart girl currently wrapped around my elder brother actually cared what the state of the kitchen was. Still, our father, the King, would be upset that someone from one of the other clans had seen that we weren’t the perfect royal family we proclaimed to be and that we did, in fact, have messy kitchens - very messy this morning. Who would get the blame for this? Not Tarragon, that’s for sure. Tarragon was only the Four of Clubs, but he was one of Father’s favourites. I, on the other hand, was the lowliest of all. As the Two of Clubs, I ranked only slightly higher than the mice that sometimes frequented the kitchen despite the hard work of Fluff, the palace cat.  And it was I who would get the blame for this.
I glanced at the Heart woman. Usually, you could tell a Heart from the clothes they wore, the most ridiculous ‘high fashion’ which usually consisted of a lot of lace, tulle, feathers and leather, but as I couldn’t see the rest of her, I guessed that she was completely naked under the heap of coats. She was unmistakably a Heart, though. Even with a lack of clothes, I could tell. Red hair fell in waves down the flawless porcelain skin on her naked back. She looked perfect and sensuous in every way, another rather annoying trait of The Hearts. They just didn’t have bad hair days!
“Oy,” I whispered to my wayward brother. The drill-like snoring turned into a grunt so I stuck a toe in his side.
“Wha...? Oh, it’s you!” He actually closed his eyes again, pretending to fall right back asleep. He was in for a shock if he thought I was going to leave him here.
“Will you get her out of here, please? I have to clean the kitchen to get it ready for the cooks.” I might have been the lowest member of the family, but I’d developed into someone my mother described as ‘ a wilful child’ and my father called ‘a pain in the ass’. Tarragon knew he had no chance of being left alone with his new plaything.
“What time is it?” He opened his eyes again. His chin was damp with dribble, and he had streamers still weaved through his hair like a multicoloured wig. I couldn’t resist giving him an eye roll.
“It doesn’t matter what time it is. If father catches you with her, there will be hell to pay, and I don’t want to be involved. Why did you bring her down here anyway? She could be a spy.” Unlikely, as she’d actually been invited to the castle along with the rest of her family. And unless The Hearts had a secret desire to learn how much kitchen cleaner we used (not a lot it seemed), then the chances of her being sent down here to spy were slim. Still, Tarragon didn’t need to know that.
“Why do you think I brought her down here? Can you not see her? She’s gorgeous.”
I scowled. His complete disregard for the rules irritated me. It didn’t matter how beautiful the woman was, she was still a Heart and therefore completely untrustworthy. If her father caught them together, well, it didn’t bear thinking about.
“She’s a Heart!” I stated the obvious, knowing that Tarragon was fully aware that she was a Heart, and that was more than likely the reason he’d bedded her in the first place.
“Isn’t this whole party thing to get the clans together so we can cooperate and live in a peaceful land? This is why we all come together at this time of year.” He gave that leisurely grin that women of all races seemed to fall for. It wasn’t going to work on me, though. I was mad!
“Yes, but I don’t think that you are supposed to come together quite so literally!”

“Or quite so many times,” grinned Tarragon.


J. Armitage

Featured Book: Two of Clubs

Hi, I’m so excited to be amongst some amazing authors in this box set. It’s like finding myself at a party with Tori Amos providing the music, Jamie Oliver cooking the food, Stephen Fry sat at one side and Jack Black on the other.
  
How long have you been a writer and how did you come to writing?
I first hit the publish button in January 2014 but I’d spent a whole year writing my first book before that. Nowadays I write much more quickly but back then it was a slow process. It probably didn’t help that I was single parenting two very young children and being a surrogate for a friend. It was a lonely time so I wrote when the kids went to bed. My life is pretty great now and I’ve brought my writing with me into the good times.
How did you come up with this storyline?    I’ve always loved fantasy so it was a no brainer that I’d write fantasy sooner or later. This particular story came to me as more of a concept than a story later. It occurred to me that there are 52 weeks in a year and 52 cards in a pack. One card for each week. I then thought that it would be pretty cool to write a story about the cards. In my book the cards are Royals. This book follows the Two of Clubs as she accidentally starts a war between the four ruling families, The Clubs, The Hearts, The Diamonds and The Spades. Each book is written as a different member of each family. Each book is a stand alone but they follow the arc of the war as it unfolds. Each book has seven chapters - one for each day of the week. Eventually, I hope to have 365 chapters over 52 books!

What are the best and the worst aspects of writing?
I love writing. I wasn’t much of a writer as a child but I was a voracious reader. I read to escape reality. I write for the same reason but I get to chose what direction the characters go in. The worst part for me is the lack of time. I want to write more and more and more!

What inspires you to write?
Nothing inspires me to write as such. I just have stories rattling around in my head all the time, fighting to get out!

How did you conduct your research for The Two of Clubs (War and Suits book1)?
30 years of reading other author’s work. As it’s a fantasy, I’ve made up a lot of stuff. You’ll meet new creatures and new food and new customs amongst other things.

What are 3 of your favorite quotes from The Two of Club?
Thinking about it...
This is my favourite bit:
~ “She’s a Heart!” I stated the obvious, knowing that Tarragon was fully aware that she was a Heart, and that was more than likely the reason he’d bedded her in the first place.
~ “Isn’t this whole party thing to get the clans together so we can cooperate and live in a peaceful land? This is why we all come together at this time of year.” He gave that leisurely grin that women of all races seemed to fall for. It wasn’t going to work on me, though. I was mad!
~ “Yes, but I don’t think that you are supposed to come together quite so literally!”
“Or quite so many times,” grinned Tarragon.

More Favorites from Two of Clubs:
The Heart District is awesome in a steampunky kind of way - I’m not saying any more - You’ll just have to read it.

What would your friends say is your best quality?
I don’t give up. Actually, that’s what I say my best quality is. My friends would probably say my best quality is bringing them cake and wine! (If you can call that a quality!)

Are reader reviews important to you?
My reviews keep me going. It’s amazing just how much some nice words from a complete stranger can pick me up for the rest of the day. They inspire me to keep going.

What do you do when you don’t write?
I’m a graphic designer and wedding photographer as well as a mother. I also renovate houses. My favourite hobby is sleep lol!

Tell us about your other books?
I have a Paranormal Romance series called Guardians of The Light which begins with a girl in a locked room. Her biggest problem isn’t the door, it’s what lies beyond.
Talking of locked doors, my next series (The Labyrinthians) features plenty of them in the form of an underground maze with danger lurking around every corner. Finally, I’ve started a Cozy Mystery series (Murder at The Bite Cafe) which I hope to write book 2 in next year once I’ve written the first twelve of The Clubs stories

If you could share one thing about yourself that you would like readers to know what would it be? 
I love getting emails oh and I’ve crush on Jack Black...shhh, don’t tell everyone!

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy the book. If you sign up to my mailing list, I’ll let you know about an exclusive competition I’ll be running throughout the whole series of War and Suits books
  


Born in a small town, J. Armitage longed for adventure and travel.
Age 20 she moved to Dublin, then to San Diego, then Sydney and back to California where she did a brief stint working at Universal Studios being a minder to Sponge Bob.

Once back in Britain she got married, had babies and decided to write about the adventure she was now missing out on. She works full time, is a mum to three kids and has had a surrogate baby.

She has skydived twice (and survived), climbed Kilimanjaro and hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. She has also worked as a professional clown and banana picker amongst other jobs.

Somehow she finds time to write.

J. Amitage's second book, Infinite Spring, was nominated for a iFestival of Reading Award.






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Please Feel Free to Share


Live ~ Laugh ~ Love
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© 2000-2016 Muffy Wilson. [Muffy@MuffyWilson.com] All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Release Day Blitz! The Case of The Dead Dowager by @JudithLucci! #RPBP #ASMSG #Thriller



Retired homicide detective Michaela McPherson and the aging Countess Dorothy Borghase team up again—this time to match wits with two serial killers stalking children, women and the elderly.
When Dottie Borghase's friend Camilla Rothrock collapses at a lunch gathering of old friends, the countess's only concern is to dial 911 for help. But Camilla's subsequent death has authorities buzzing about international safety and retaliation, because her son is decorated U.S. Army General Stuart Rothrock.

As other restaurant patrons in Richmond meet similar fates, Michaela and Dottie join forces with the Richmond Police and the FBI to track down the pair of heinous murderers. But in order to catch the killers, they will put their own lives and the lives of others in in serious jeopardy.What Price Must a City Pay to Keep its Citizen's Safe?

How about an excerpt:
Dottie turned off the main highway and headed south to Blackstone Virginia. Madame Toulescent lived just outside of Blackstone and that's where she conducted her psychic readings. She wished away the butterflies that cramped her stomach. She had a sense that what she was going to hear wasn’t good. She wished she didn't believe in the value of psychics or the unknown but she did, and that was that. She’d seen psychic readings and prophecies come true time after time during her life. Mic wasn’t a believer at all but had grudgingly admitted psychics had helped them in a case about ten years ago.

The speedometer on her car registered over sixty miles an hour on a forty-five mile limit stretch of highway. I'd better slow down. The last thing I need is a Virginia state trooper on my tail. She braked and her car skidded but she handled it skillfully. The Cadillac was a big, monster car but she really liked it. Since Dottie had lived in the US, she had always preferred German-made cars and previously owned multiple Mercedes Benz. Of course, when Count Borghase had been alive, they’d always driven Italian cars, mainly Ferraris. But now she was pretty much American and she loved her Caddy. There was something about the Cadillac that was so plush and so American that she bought a new one every couple of years.

She saw an old gray mule in the pasture out of the corner of her eye and saw the fence that was lying on the side. Dottie didn’t know what she’d do if they ever repaired that fence. She’d been looking at that fence on the ground for years and it was her landmark just before she turned onto Madame’s private road. She knew her turn was just up ahead. She slowed for a farmer carrying a load of hay in an old truck. He was hogging the entire road. Now where in the hell am I supposed to go? She steered her big car to the side of the road as far as she could without falling into the ditch. She cursed and held her breath as the farmer passed her. She swore the farmer missed her by less than an inch. The old codger hadn't even looked her way. She shook her head and cursed again softly. She threw her white Caddy into first gear and roared out of the ditch spewing gravel, dirt, and mud all over the road. She saw three rabbits running for their life and hoped she hadn’t interrupted their nest. Dottie drove a little further and made her left turn. She turned right on the first road and started the difficult trip along the horrible, rutted road to Madame Toulescent’s tiny home. The road was almost a mile long. Dottie's tall, thin frame bounced all over her plush leather seat and her hair fell out of her neatly arranged bun. I'm going to have to take a pain pill. All this jumping around is killing my hips. Secretly Dottie new she needed to have her hips replaced but there was no way she was willing to do that, at least not while she could walk. I wouldn't be able to help Michaela. And then, what would she do?

Madame Toulescent waved at Dottie from her front porch filled with flowers and beautiful hanging baskets of petunias and begonias. Her small white cottage was immaculate. Madame Toulescent watched her painstakingly steer her huge Cadillac down her battered road. Dottie brought the iron beast to a stop, looked in her rearview mirror and re-pinned a piece of white hair that had worked its way out of her perfect updo. Even though the Madame lived in a house that was little better than a house trailer, Dottie had been trained from birth to always look perfect when visiting. This task had become monumental at age 82. She reached for her purse and checked to make sure her Glock was nestled in its special pocket. She checked her lipstick in the mirror, pinched her lips together, cursed the fine lines around her mouth and got out of the car.

"Hello Madame Toulescent. Thank you for seeing me today on short notice." Dorothy smiled her gracious smile at the psychic, showing her beautiful white veneers, once available for a large price from the famous, dentist-to-the-stars Dr. Michael Smirkowitz.

"You are so welcome, Countess Borghase." Madame Toulescent looked around the empty fields and through the trees and gestured with her arm. "As you can see, there is no waiting line. Please come in. I've made us some tea." She paused for a moment and said, "Watch the steps. They're in need of repair," she cautioned.

In need of repair, my butt, they need to be rebuilt Dottie climbed the rickety steps dodging rusty nails and wood splinters. She grasped the loose railing and posts that held up the old front porch. The last thing she wanted to do was fall and break something. She followed Madame Toulescent into her small but neat and cozy home. There was a wonderful scent in the air and Dottie’s mouth watered.

"Please have a seat in the easy chair," the Madame offered. "I'll bring us some tea and sweet bread."

Dottie nodded and smiled her thanks as she carefully studied Madame Toulescent. She wasn't sure of her nationality. She thought she was Eastern European but she seemed very much like the French and her house had several amazing pieces of French country furniture. In years past, she had asked the Madame about her former life, but the psychic seemed unwilling to share her past. Her voice had a strange accent Dottie couldn't identify which frustrated her. Dottie had traveled the world and she knew the languages and dialects of most ethnic populations. But she couldn't figure out Madame Toulescent’s origins. That puzzled her.

Madame handed Dottie a cup of herb tea. The aroma alerted her senses and she immediately felt more awake and inspired. The tea had given her energy and awareness. She took a sip. It was delicious.

"Oh my, Madame Toulescent. Whatever is in this tea? I feel a million times better just from smelling it. You’ve got to tell me where you got it because I know Cookie would love it too," Dottie gushed as she sipped her tea.

Madame Toulescent smiled and said. "I made the tea. It's a blend of ginger, mint, lemon verbena and a few other things I grow in my herb garden. I'll send some home with you. It's sweetened with honey I collected from my bees yesterday." She smiled briefly, and her lips stretched over teeth that could benefit from a cosmetic dentist. "That's probably what you love so much."

Dottie nodded and studied the Madame. The years hadn't treated her so well. Dottie didn't know her age but her face was a mass of wrinkles that blended one into the other. Dottie guessed each wrinkle had its own story. Her skin appeared soft but deeply creased. Her jet black hair was streaked with gray and hung freely past her shoulders. She wore a simple blue shift with a silver belt and wore tennis shoes and socks. She smelled of lemon and freesia.

Dottie, as usual, smelled of Chanel #5. "It's so lovely out here, Madame. Do you ever come to town?"

Madame Toulescent shook her head. "Very rarely. My neighbor collects my groceries for me when I need them and as you know, I have a huge vegetable garden and I can and freeze most everything I need. I like it here and I like to stay with my animals - my dogs, cats, cow, mules and horses. It's quiet here and my love is nature."

Dottie nodded. She couldn't imagine staying in these four walls every single day. She supposed she didn't have the patience and gentleness of spirit that the Madame had. But that was okay. Dottie was very happy in her own way.

The two women shared a comfortable silence and continued to sip their tea until the Madame asked, "How can I help you today, Countess?" She smiled at her and said, "I can tell you have some significant things on your mind and that you are troubled."

Dottie put her teacup down and said, "Yes, I do. Have you been watching the news?" Dottie saw the woman pale under her sun-darkened skin.

Madame Toulescent nodded. "You’re here about the poisonings, aren't you?"

Dottie held Madame’s dark eyes with her own and said, "Yes, I am. Camilla Rothrock was one of my dearest friends and I need to know who poisoned her."

Madame shifted her gaze to the floor and said, "Countess Borghase, this is a very bad business that is happening. I've had some visions and they are upsetting. It reminds me of the evil work of Hitler in Germany."

This time it was Dottie who paled, her heart beating so hard she could hardly breathe. "Oh my God, Madame. We both remember his devastation in Europe and the millions of people he murdered."

Madame Toulescent rubbed her hands together, her face grim. "Indeed we do. A sad and sorry time. Let's move into the back where I work and see what we can see."

Dottie stood and followed Madame to the room in the far back of her modest home. It was a glass room with beautiful views into the forest. She left her teacup on the coffee table. Her heart thumped dangerously in her chest and she was short of breath. She was so terrified she almost lost her balance. She gripped her purse and cell phone in her hand. She was scared and just the idea of having the Glock made her feel safer. Could the evil be so strong it permeated her soul?

“Countess, why are you so upset? What can I do to help you?” Madame Toulescent looked at Dottie with concern.

Dottie stared at her but her eyes said it all.

“Let me get you something to calm you down so we can have a good reading. Please stay in the chair and I’ll be right back,” Madame Toulescent said as she left Dottie and walked to her kitchen.

Want To Read More? Read Chapter 35 here!

Once Upon A Time In America | Ennio Morricone