The Keeper (19)

Three whole days and nights had passed since Mona retuned home from her father’s funeral. Three whole days and nights had passed since she stayed in her bedroom, barely coming out to do chores her siblings demanded of her. They cursed her and called her lazy, everything they could do to get her to do the chores they’d rather not do, which was pretty much all the chores really. Mona didn’t care, not anymore. Her father had been right. They didn’t care about anyone other than themselves. No wonder he had wanted her to leave, to get away from the ‘leeches’ as he often referred to them in their absence.  It so happened one afternoon, Mona was called a ‘disgusting and selfish being’ for not attending to their every whim. She could barely believe they even realized or cared that their father was dead. From the moment they had come back from the funeral, they were far too busy dividing, fighting and bickering over who gets what. Belle had simply just grabbed her father’s favorite cap and walked in to her room, closing the door behind her and shutting out the hurt. 
Three days later, sitting there on the floor, she caught a glimpse of light skimming on something below the bed and fetched it, cutting her finger sharply on the broken glass of the mirror she’d missed when cleaning up her room. She stared at the sliver and broke down crying. Why had she even left the castle? Why had she left the Beast? Her father was happy and healthy when she was away, knowing she was finally free. Her coming back had caused him illness. 
She cried, gently stroking the reflection on the piece. ‘I wish I had never come back here. I wish I had never come back here!’ 
‘Belle,’ she heard the gentle, yet deep rumble of the voice she’d learned to love, though it now was filled with an unknown pain. ‘My dear, Belle.’
She looked up, half expecting that he were standing in front of her in her tiny room. In stead, she found herself in a dark, barely lit hall of some sort, all but a small candelabra on the mantle. She could feel a draft of cold icy wind sneaking in, and could barely see his outline against the dark. ‘Oh Beast, how I missed you!’ 
She pushed herself off the floor and ran to him. ‘Truly missed you, despite myself!’ She threw herself at him as if he were the closest thing she had. He winched as she did. ‘You’re hurt?’
He shook his head. ‘Just tired.’
‘I don’t believe you.’ She glared through the dark, unable to judge. She reached for the candelabra and brought it to closer to him, and watched him slink away. ‘Come into the light. Let me see you.’ And as he did, a gasp escaped her. ‘What have you done? You look different.’
‘He is dying.’ A voice beside her said, catching her with fright. She turned, suddenly to see the candelabra come to life in her hands. ‘But master is too proud to say this to you.’
Belle let out a squeak. She had heard that voice before, always thinking it belonged to ghosts that haunted the castle. ‘You speak?’

‘We all do.’ Lumiere said, wriggling out of her hands, and within his lights reach, more tools and ordinary objects began to come to life.

‘You must save our master, Belle. You must save our master.’
Belle could only stare in disbelief. 

The Keeper (18)

The silent of the room only stretched. Mona half expected him to hover behind her and speak as if he were part of darkness itself. Almost a month it had been now, and restless she tossed and turned half the night, unable to shake the feeling. Something was going on. If only she knew what. She tossed one last time before flinging herself off the bed and edging towards the giant ornate trunk that stood at the foot of the bed. It had simply appeared in her room and inside, her belongings from the enchanting place were neatly placed. 
She dug through it aimlessly. Half its content had already been plundered by her sisters. What remained were the odd pieces of material, dresses that would only fit Mona’s petite frame and a few brash trinkets. Her hand brushed an ornate handle of something and she fished it out from the bottom of the chest; a small vintage hand mirror with a chip or two in the oddly pewter tinged mirror. She had never seen it before. It was not something from her room. 

Something about its enamel inlay captured her and she took it back to bed with her, flipping it absentmindedly in her hands till sometime in the morning she fell asleep with it laid across her chest. Her hand still clutching the handle.

‘Mona? Get up. We have to get to the hospital and visit dad.’ Estella, her eldest sister’s nasal voice woke Mona up and she found herself holding the mirror up, something flashing across its surface. She pulled the mirror closer and glanced into it. Curious. It was showing her a room she’d once been in, Lucifer’s room. 
‘What are you showing me?’ She questioned, sitting up in bed, the mirror clutched in both hands. ‘What do you want me to see?’

The image suddenly became sharp, as if she were in the room itself. There was a figure huddled over the edge of the bed. It was Beast. He looked odd, something about the way he held the bed post for support. 

‘Master, you need to get out of this room. Some fresh air might help you.’ A familiar but body-less voice came from behind and Mona instinctively looked over her shoulder only to see her wall. 
Beast grunted somewhat of an agreement and ambled along on a cane, struggling to reach the door. 
‘Would you like your dinner brought out to the garden?’
He stood at the doorframe, and through struggling breaths managed to say ‘No.’ His voice gruffer than before and full of pain. He turned directly to the mirror as if he could see Mona through it. ‘Fetch me only if the lady returns.’

‘Wait,’ she whispered, silly as it was. ‘What is wrong with you?’ She traced his retrieving form on the smooth surface. 

‘Mona Belle!’ She heard the shrieking of her sisters and the door burst open only to startle her awake in bed, the handle of the mirror still in hand. She couldn’t help but turn the mirror to face her in the hope that the she could see the Beast through it, but nothing.
‘It’s dad. He’s gone.’

The last thing Mona remembered hearing was the shattering of the mirror as it fell to the floor in her rush to leap out of bed. 
‘No. No. Daddy!’

Free EBook.

Less than 9 hours left till the free promotion on kindle ends! So grab your copy, read, love and share it with your friends and family. A small thumb click for you, a giant leap for me! 🙂

Get reading. You won’t regret it in the end! (Who regrets a free book anyway?!) lol.

Happy Saturday, and happy birthday to my cutie pie neice.  

Charming Mr. Stewart 

Free eBOOK!! Grab your free EBOOK!

Free eBOOK!! Grab your free EBOOK!

In celebration of my tiny little munchkin of a niece turning 2 today, I have decided to bring in her birthday (which I’m missing out on since she is in a different continent) in epic style. I am giving away free electronic copies of my latest novel, Charming Mr. Stewart.

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Free ebook for you, and you, and you! For 24 hours only, on this 17th of Feb, Charming Mr. Stewart, is free. Grab a copy, whether you read Chicklits yourself or you have a special person or two in your life that love reading little triumphant romances about modern women. Normally $3.99 USD only, for today, it’s yours absolutely free.

Read, love, share and review while you’re at it.

Happy downloading!

Xoxo

E

 

Next Release: Charming Mr Stewart

Next Release: Charming Mr Stewart

Hey hey hey,

Been a while I guess. Pardon my sporadic-ness if you will. I’m in the middle of spending time with my two gorgeous nieces, planning my first semester of content to teach a nervous bunch of teens, and trying to upkeep the blog and keep you in the loop with the next release. Suffice to say I’m feeling the time pressure to deliver by the nominated date of Valentines day, which in fact, as I type this now, is only mere 14 days away! (C*ap)

I have a few chapters to spruce up in the meantime. Yikes.

I’m not sure I’ve already told you guys, that you will find some chapters on here to read prior to grabbing a copy of the book at release, but I thought I’ll remind you once more and share the new blurb with you in the hopes that it will peak your interest (obviously).

BLURB is the hardest thing to write by the way, in case no one has ever told you. It’s the worst. Its epic failure at every keystroke. Like a test you just can’t pass no matter how many time you give it a go. That’s what I’m struggling with at the moment. Bad.

Here is the latest version, below.

 

 

Charming Mr Stewart (short blurb)

When Elle packed her bags and left home with her child in tow, she was determined to live life with memories of her late husband alone. As the once prominent wedding photographer re-kindles her business, it’s partially to keep herself far too busy for stupid little thing like love. By chance, when she meets a potentially special client it’s with sweaty palms and skipping beats that may have nothing to with a broken AC and above 30°C heat.

Taking on Mr Stewart as a client may not be strictly business, but will Elle battle all odds, a snobbish matriarch, and a woman hell bent on letting her know that Dean is off-limits unscathed? After all, falling in love with a client is not an option despite Dean’s attempt at every turn to steal what’s left of her healing heart.

 

Other-worldly

Other-worldly

Balen stood at the edge of the roof several feet above street level. The tips of his shinny leather boots poked out into the night sky. His dark leather cloak flapped like a bat’s wing behind him, and his skin still glistened from the sweat trickling down his blood stained face. His dark eyes focused on the street below with intensity. He could make out a four-horse drawn carriage pulling up outside the hotel and a couple stepped out in style. The size of the woman’s hat spoke immensely of their wealth. 

Catherine Bigums. Until last year, she was a pauper forced to put her three children up for sale for she could no longer afford to feed them. A year later, she was married to one of the richest man in Motown. Her children were still in the orphanage where she’d placed them, and the missing case of her ex-husband was no longer missing. Mr Joel Bigum had been discovered dead a fortnight ago in a small town thousand miles away by a sheep dog out on a farm. The only identity on him had been a fading photograph of three children with their names written on the back.

Balen jumped off the edge and headed down to the theatre level through the stairwell. He needed to observe Catherine close up. See what story her face revealed. Catherine wasn’t Bigum’s style. Her angular face and skeletal figure hardly inspired any curiosity in him. A body of a woman half wasted, not one for a mother of three. Why ex-Mrs Bigums hadn’t claimed her three children begged an answer and Balan knew he had a task ahead. 
He followed the woman and her new husband, Mr Watkins down the street. He followed them through the town centre, pausing in the shadows as the woman made several stops oohing and aahing at trinkets by the shop windows, shimmying through shops as if she were made of money. And whatever she fancied her husband obliged by making a purchase, only to have her gush as his kindness. It all made Balan feel sick. 
It was close to midnight that the couple reached home and Balan stood in the shadows of tree across the road eyeing the house for several hours. ‘Do you see it?’ The soft whisper broke the silent night and Balan to his surprise found himself under the shadows of a tree sprite. 
‘Tell me you see it too!’ The tiny green smoke of a figure whooshed out in front of him and floated there in the air. A sliver of smoke still anchoring it to the ancient tree. ‘I’ve noticed this house for a while now. Curious little thing. Too bad I can’t simply make my way over there to examine it.’

Balan considered the sprite. ‘How long has that been there?’

The sprite shrugged his shoulders. ‘Oh you know, I’m not entirely sure. Maybe a year, maybe more. These things are hard to say.’

Balan clasped his fist around the sprite’s neck, watching it whither and struggle. ‘How long has it been?’
‘A year. A year!’ He struggled and Balan let it go. ‘Ever since that thing has moved in.’

Balan ducked into the shadows of the tree and put his camouflage up as a car pattered past them and turned into a driveway few doors down. 

‘Do you know what it is?’ Balan peeled himself away from the tree and his barks fell away from his torso. 

The sprite nodded. ‘I haven’t seen one in a long while. They used to call them the Black Widows back then. Nasty little things they used to be before they were restricted to the forest dwellings.’ 

‘What’s it doing this far out of its territory?’ 

‘Whatever it is, it bodes ill for that human.’ The sprite slunk back into the tree. ‘Last time one of these came out was almost 300 years ago. The most demonic thing I’ve seen all my life and that’s saying something. Almost killed them all off, those stupid humans.’

Balan stood by the edge of the footpath and studied the strange green gossamer tendrils whistling about the property, snaking out of windows and doors, and floating up from the chimney. ‘And how did they stop it?’ 

‘I have no idea. Seeing how I’m rooted to one spot, I can only tell you what I heard, and this far out, I wasn’t hearing much back then.’

Balan crossed the street and looked up at the facade of the double story house. The lights had been off for a while now and he assumed they’d gone to bed. He took a few more steps towards the house only to have one of the tendrils flick him away viciously. He flew across the road and crashed into the bush at the front of the house there. The wind knocked out of him. It took him a while to catch his breath and get back up on his feet. 

He glared at the house sickly aware that those tendrils of gossamers were nothing akin to spiders, but a rather strong ward against the other side. His side. The Keepers of Light. As he came to once again stand under the sprite’s tree he couldn’t help but notice a figure by the top window, it’s slightly glowing eyes set on him with a mischievous grin on its black face. 

‘Whatever magic that is, it’s not from our…’

‘Realm.’ Balan finished in awe. 

(Inspired by the accompanying photo prompt.)

The Keeper (17)

Something was falling gently from an ornate ceiling and Mona was mesmerized. She lay in her bed knowing that she was hallucinating but she didn’t care. She’d been inclined to day dreaming a lot since she got her freedom back. Yet something didn’t feel right. Part of her wished she was back in Lucifer’s strange but wonderful home. Part of her thought she was crazy, and that part was probably right.

Instead of forcing herself to snap out of the day dream, she embraced it. All its magic, all it’s obscurity that there could be beautiful red rose petals falling down towards her from the dark ceilings but never quite reach her. She’d extend her arms up to reach them part way but they’d vanish before they ever touched her. Strange, she thought. She was not much of a rose fan and here she was, enchanted by a hallucination that somehow made her think about beast.

‘I wonder what you’re doing right now.’

An image of a lonely man walking around the grounds of Lucifer’s home pierced the floating image above her briefly. The man languished away from her vision, assisted by a cane. Mona followed as if she were walking right behind him. ‘Master, it’s time. You need to ask her. Maybe she will say yes.’

The man turned partially. ‘I will not put this on her.’ He looked a little familiar.
‘But master. Beauty may say yes.’

She stopped. Were they talking about her? But who were they? The man rested by the dying apple trees in the orchard. He turned, a hopeless smile on his handsome, yet tired young face. It was the man from her dreams, the one that asked her to marry him for he only had a fortnight, whatever that meant. ‘And what are the chances of that, Mr Lighthouse, for a monster like me?’
‘But you’re not a monster,’ Mona uttered under her breath as she stared at the young man floating above her bed, and for a moment there she thought he heard, for the look in his eyes intensified. Something familiar about them, like she’d seen those eyes before. But where?

‘Belle!’ Came the frantic screaming of her sisters and as much as Mona wanted to stay there and look into the eyes of her dream she had to leave. ‘Something’s happening to daddy!’
The dream bubble burst immediately and though she felt torn, Mona ran out her room double quick to find her siblings hovering over their fitting father instead of calling for an ambulance.
Mona paced to and fro of the disinfectant smelling corridor. She’d had countless teas and coffee from the waiting lounge. She couldn’t sit and wait, nor calmly go home like her brothers and sisters had done. It was their father in an ICU recovering from a massive heart attack.

‘You’re father is asking for you Miss.’
Mona nodded at the nurse who’d come out just to let her know. She wiped her tear streaked face dry and calmed down before going in.

‘Quiet a scare you gave us.’

Her father stared at her a long moment. ‘Tell me about this Beast. Is he truly terrifying?’

‘Daddy. You should be resting.’

‘Did he treat you well? Gave you food? Clothed you?’ He stared at her. ‘My dear Belle, was he kind to you?’

Something made Mona burst into tears. Perhaps it was that she had almost lost her father, or perhaps it was that what her father asks were all true and so she suddenly missed her friend very much so, missed him like never before.

‘He was too kind, daddy.’ She cried into his palm. ‘Too kind.’

‘Then what are you doing here my child?’ He wiped her tears. ‘You have very little time.’

Her father smiled at her reassuringly and fell into a gentle sleep, leaving Mona wondering. What did he mean by she had very little time? Little time to do what?

‘I only have a fortnight…’ The young man’s voice echoed in her head and his eyes covered her vision, those familiar honey coloured eyes.

‘Who are you?’ She muttered that night in bed as sleep took hold of her. ‘Tell me who you are? Why do I feel like I know you?’

‘It’s me, Belle.’ He said in that familiar voice. If only she knew where she’d heard it before. ‘It’s me.’

‘Beast?’ Into the night she spoke. ‘Is that truly you?’