Thursday, September 20, 2018

Review of AN EVERYDAY THING by Nancy Richardson

An EveryDay Thing
by Nancy Richardson
Paperback, 120 pages
Published July 13th, 2018 by Finishing Line Press


Nancy Richardson’s poems concern coming of age in the rust-belt of Ohio during a period of decay of the physical and political structures that made the region once solid and predictable. Her poems chart the shifting of the foundations upon which a life is built and the unpredictability of events that have profound personal and political consequences, including the shootings at Kent State University.


PURCHASE


I would like to start off this review by saying how mind-blowing this compilation of poetry is, never have I read something so creative and atypical. AN EVERYDAY THING is so intense it is like reading someone's soul. Undoubtedly, as you consume this writing it will rip you apart with turmoil and tragedy. For this very reason as a reader, you cannot miss such fabulousness.

I find it fascinating that Richards uses the Kent State shooting as the main focal point in this book of poems since on May 4th, 1970 was the day the people of America became afraid of their own government and since that day nothing has changed, only intensified. Furthermore, weaving in poems of atrocities taking place within today’s society, such as spousal abuse, voter fraud, loss of loved ones, rich people getting richer by polluting the earth and many more subjects. To me, these poems represent the rapid decline that society is making as a whole. The most important point is will society pull out of its downward spiral before it is too late.


The formation and layout of each poem are as unique as the poems themselves. Richardson is quite the rare poet in the way she can paint a portrait of a senseless massacre with only 11 black lines. Additionally, the construct of the poem “MY MOTHER’S HUNGER” is exclusive in the layout combining two poems into one. Line one starts the first poem than line two is the start of the second. Therefore, as a reader, you will read every other line finding two poems in one. This is one of my favorite poems due to the possibility of interpretations. Do they have equivalent interpretations? Or could they be contradictory? Maybe there is no relation at all. Everyone’s interpretation is different, nonetheless. I am going to wrap up my review with a poem that I can strongly relate to. Why is this? I have Rheumatoid Arthritis at 44 years old and this poem resonates deeply with me.
CLEAN
Her fingers bent in strange ways,
twigs blown in a strong wind.
At night I would stand beside her
at the kitchen sink, dry each dish.
She worried each small bit of grease,
each baked-on remnant of food,
scrubbing as the hot water poured
over her twisted fingers. Balm of heat
on skin, sacrament of cleanliness



Nancy Richardson’s poems have appeared in journals anthologies. She has written two chapbooks. The first, Unwelcomed Guest (2013) by Main Street Rag Publishing Company and the second, the Fire’s Edge (2017) by Finishing Line Press concerned her formative youth in the rust-belt of Ohio and the dislocation, including the Kent State shootings that affected her young adulthood. In An Everyday Thing, she has included those poems and extended the narrative to memories of persons and events and the make a life.

She has spent a good deal of her professional life working in government and education at the local, state, and federal levels and as a policy liaison in the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Education and for the Governor of Massachusetts. She received an MFA in Writing from Vermont College in 2005 and has served on the Board of the Frost Place in Franconia, NH. Visit her Website.






Thursday, July 5, 2018

AN IMPOSSIBLE WORLD BOOK BLITZ!! + GIVEAWAY of a $25 Amazon gift card



An Impossible World 
S.P. Cervantes 
Published by: Amber Leaf Publishing
Publication date: July 25th, 2017
Genres: Adult, Dystopian, Romance

What would happen if terrorism spread and hate took over? What would the world become?  
Isabella (Belle) Grey trained her entire adult life to protect those around her––training that would prove invaluable in her quest to make a new life. Forced to live in an impossible world, terror was not only outside the walls of her protected community but also raged behind the walls of her very own home.
No longer willing to put up with her husband’s drunken abuse, Belle made the desperate decision to run away from the safety of her community and escaped alone into the broken world beyond.
Chased by death as bombs exploded in the distance, her next decision could not only save her life but could potentially bring light back into her darkened soul.
When faced with the impossible, Belle found strength in an unsuspecting stranger who set her path in a new direction––one she never considered.
Fear. Love. Revenge. Strength … all come together in this epic tale of fate and survival.
Only 99¢ for a limited time!
SNEAK PEEKS:

Keagan
“In this world, loving someone is a weakness.” He let his fingers trace my chin, “I’ve always been strong. I need to be strong.” His voice was a whisper as his eyes fell to my lips.

I didn’t break my gaze from his, “You are strong.” I wanted to say so much more but was too lost in the way his eyes told me he wanted everything I did.

He leaned in so close that I could feel his warm breath mix with mine. He placed one hand on the wall behind me, “You make me weak.”


Christian
“I want to be the first person you kiss under the stars, and I think you do too.”

He didn’t wait for my answer, he was right, he knew everything about me.

“Is it too hard for you to hear that I prayed every day of my life since I left that we’d be brought back together again, only when it actually happened, I don’t have you at all?”


Author Bio:
S.P. Cervantes is the author of the acclaimed contemporary romance A BROKEN FAIRY TALE series. The series allows you to connect with a group of friends and their triumphs over tragedy. "Dust to Dust" is a suspenseful stand-alone romance that introduces readers to this close knit group of loyal friends. "Wished Away" is an emotional romance that should be read before the Bad-Boy romance, "His Jar of Hearts". The stand-alone highly acclaimed romance called "The Wife" is now available.
S.P. Cervantes's new dystopian romance, AN IMPOSSIBLE WORLD, will be released on July 25th.
S.P. is also the author of the highly rated Young Adult Romantic Fantasy trilogy Secrets of Shadow Hill. "Always and Forever", "The Prophecy", and "War of Wizards" that has been described as "Twilight Meets Harry Potter". It's not your typical romantic fantasy.
S.P Cervantes lives in Orange County, California with her husband and three children, where she is a teacher. She enjoys spending time with her family, writing, reading, and running, but is always thinking of an idea for her next novel.

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Monday, July 2, 2018

BOOK BLITZ of RIVAL by Arwen Paris + $50 Amazon gift card GIVEAWAY!!!!!



Rival
Arwen Paris
(Fate of the Stars, #2)
Publication date: November 1st, 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

It’s a role she didn’t want…
One deadly week has passed since seventeen year old Allison Delaney realized she must save Earth from the parasitic race of Ma’tiok. But the task is even more complicated than Allison feared, and she’s being set up to fail. Blamed for a fatal blow to the Alliance fleet that killed dozens of soldiers, Allison must face judgment for their deaths. The High Priestess Kiobaan is Allison’s only hope. Kiobaan sees the warrior spirit in Allison, along with her potential both politically and physically and agrees to train her.
And a game she can’t afford to lose.
Meanwhile, though Allison is the human host of Eenoki, protector of life, she’s not yet ready to harness their combined energy. Their bond is unpredictable at best—volatile at worst. Time is running out for Eenoki and Allison to trust each other—all or nothing—or she’ll never gain the power she needs to defeat the Ma’tiok and save Earth. When Allison is marked for death by an unknown enemy, the High Priestess Kiobaan must step-up and fight. But in return Kiobaan extracts a pledge from Allison, one that will compromise her new status and make her a target.

EXCERPT:
Staring out of the tinted bulletproof windows of the limo, I can’t tell for sure how gray the clouds are that gather above us. I hope it doesn’t rain again. It’s unsettling to come back here. To see the complete destruction of the California oceanside town that I once called home—Avilene Beach. It’s a ghost-like cemetery of charred, crumbling homes and palm trees turned askew and broken apart. Just like me.
This is the direct result of my decisions.
Wind skitters across the surface of black puddles racing by, reminding me of the oily blood of the Ma’tiok. It’s been just one week since my old life, my human life ended and this new one exploded into existence. Acid rises in the back of my throat, burning hot, and I crush my jaw together hard until my lips press into a thin line. Why did Eenoki pick me?
“Priestess, do you understand what I said?”
Katok’s sharp telepathic tone startles me out of my immersive guilt. “Stick to the speech the High Priestess provided. Yes. I got it.” I swallow hard against the rising bile being pressed there by the trembling in my gut. What if this press conference makes things worse?
“Allison, don’t worry so much. You’ll be safe.” Stephen reaches out to me and Katok snatches his hand midair, crushing it in his huge taloned palm.
“Ow! Dammit, Katok!” Stephen clutches his wounded limb.
I swear, that’s almost a smirk on the massive Vongjar commander’s leopard-like face. Katok’s lips curl back menacingly to reveal his white fangs and piercing resolve. Stephen knows better than to try and touch me.
I sigh, and can’t help but glare at Stephen who sits across from me. His dark muscular arms are crossed hard against his white Navy button-up shirt. Even with the blotchy purple and yellow bruises healing across his tense neck and face, he’s still handsome. But his haircut, shaved in military style, makes me miss his longer tawny surfer hair.
“Stephen, if I can’t be the bridge between the Alliance and Earth, our world won’t survive the Ma’tiok. You understand that, right?”
His angry blue eyes lock on me, softening, and he smiles.
I look away and clench my fists on the cold, empty, black leather seats beside me. We can never make it work. He’ll never understand what I am, or what I have to do. I have to serve the Alliance to have any chance of getting them to fight the Ma’tiok on the ground, instead of glassing the Earth like they have so many other infected worlds.
The blue tint to the air thickens as we get closer to our destination. What if I had just gone with Z’iram and left Earth behind? Maybe he would have spared those who died here.
No. If we left, there would be no hope of the Alliance helping this world fight back. Any other choice would have meant the total destruction of Earth without any chance of survival.
I know Eenoki is right, but the truth still hurts.
The High Priestess will arrive soon, aboard the planet killer Star Fire, to judge and test me. This speech is another test, one that I can’t afford to mess up. If Kiobaan doesn’t publicly declare me a Priestess, of Earth, then there will be no ambassador to the Alliance or protection for our world.
I take a deep breath and straighten the pale gown Tarem made me wear, irritated at how ridiculous I look. Not that I own any clothes besides what the Alliance has provided me. Before we left, my reflection shocked me. The way they pinned up my long auburn waves under a small crystalline hairpiece that stands a few inches high, reminded me of my vision of Aakina. The memory Eenoki shared with me from her last day alive, before she and her world were wiped out by the Ma’tiok.
“How much longer Katok, until there are too many Ma’tiok for your troops to handle”
His golden eyes widen. “They multiply too quick. The ground troops struggle to do more than contain them. Our current calculations project ten Earth days at most. We need Alliance support to do any more.” Katok shakes his head.
Ten days left? It’s only been twenty-one since the Ma’tiok arrived!
Stephen leans closer. “He’s not telling you the whole story. Admiral Hurst says that there are over ten thousand Ma’tiok and infected humans on the ground, and that combined kills between Katok’s troops and the US military don’t even equal the rate that they’re multiplying at. We are losing every day.”


Author Bio:
Arwen Paris is the author of young adult fiction. Her debut YA Sci-fi Urban Fantasy novel FATE OF THE STARS releases September 1, 2017. The actions packed pages of her novels are filled with characters that are forced to face fears they never expected. When she's not writing, you can see posts of her (too many) vacations that keep her sane. Arwen lives in Washington, has a big crazy family & after the day job, she writes Fiction For the Fearless - #F3Fanatic


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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Come read an excerpt & enter to WIN a print copy of Alpha by Jus Accardo



Alpha
Jus Accardo 
(The Infinity Division #3)
Published by: Entangled: Teen
Publication date: July 3rd, 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

“A fun YA sci-fi story with a compelling cast of characters.” —Kirkus Reviews on Infinity
Sera is the obsession of a killer chasing a ghost. G is a soldier with too much blood on his hands.
Dylan lost the only person he ever loved—and will stop at nothing to get her back.
In a whirlwind chase that takes them back to where it all started, Sera, G, and Dylan will have to confront their demons—both physical and mental—and each other, in order to win their freedom.



EXCERPT:
The rain stopped, and the wind outside had settled, leaving an uncomfortable silence in its wake. I didn’t have a problem with the quiet. I liked it, in fact. But this was something a little different. This was uncomfortable. The kind of stillness that came from forced proximity to someone or something that made your skin itch and your stomach roil. The kind of hush that usually set in right before a devastating storm or a natural disaster.

He did this sometimes. Just sat across from me and stared. He usually wouldn’t even say anything. I didn’t think he expected me to say anything, either. He just looked. Sometimes it lasted a few minutes, just long enough to send that chill skittering up and down my spine. Other times it would go on for hours. He’d blink and breathe and fidget, but his eyes…those remained locked on me, his unhealthy mix of sadness and lust and greed and anger crushing me to the point of breathlessness.

We were at it again, and I was just about out of patience. It was one thing to have been ripped away from my home, from my life, by that madwoman, Cora Anderson. It was another to have her poke and prod and use me as a science experiment. She’d altered my mind. Made me forget most of my life before the day I woke up a prisoner on the floor of her cold, dank cell. Those things were all bad, but having been “rescued” by this bastard and forced to stay by his side at all times? That was an entirely new level of torture.
“You’re thinking about him again, aren’t you?” His tone was acidic and his jaw tight. He had a temper, this guy. I’d seen it multiple times. He’d never done anything more than scream at me, but it was only a matter of time with people like this. I wasn’t sure how I knew that, but I felt it in my bones. Maybe I’d known someone like him at home. Maybe it was just intuition.
“Yes,” was all I replied. I found that simple, one-word responses went over the best. Or, more accurately, the worst. When I said too little, he grew agitated. He wanted me to talk to him, yet the things that came out of my mouth weren’t ever what he wanted to hear. I didn’t act like he’d hoped I would, didn’t say the things he longed to hear. Some days he was determined to change me. Others, he was rabid, blaming me for not behaving like myself and demanding that I wake up.

Forget that I had no idea who I was.

“While it’s not okay, I understand.” He offered me a smile—a small, tentative twitch of his lips and gentle shrug of his shoulders. He was making an effort to be kinder today, going out of his way to speak softer and move slower.

That made me even angrier.

“You understand? Then my life is complete. All I’ve ever wanted was the understanding of a serial killer.” Even if I hadn’t been thinking about…someone else, I would have lied. The fact that I wasn’t focused on him, and him alone, drove Dylan—my savior, my captor—crazy. But the truth was, I was thinking of him. That other him. How could I not? Even if I didn’t find myself missing him every moment of every day in an almost physical way, I wouldn’t be able to put him out of my mind because he was technically sitting here across from me.



JUS ACCARDO spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather's footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. But at the last minute, she realized her true path lay with fiction, not food.
Jus is the bestselling author of the popular Denazen series from Entangled publishing. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Your never disappointed reading a Catherine Ryan Hyde book!!!

Paperback, 332 pages
Published June 19th, 2018 by Lake Union Publishing


Catherine Ryan Hyde is the award-winning author of more than 30 published books. Her bestselling 1999 novel, Pay It Forward, was adapted into a major Warner Bros. motion picture.

After the sudden death of her best friend and law partner, high-powered Manhattan attorney Roseanna makes the impulsive decision to abandon her cushy but unfulfilling city life and buy a tiny house upstate. She soon discovers a young mother and her daughter who have been squatting on the property, and although company is the last thing Roseanna wants, she decides to let them stay. And as Roseanna beings to accept a new reality free of material wealth, she discovers that she is rich in something that can’t be replaced: family.

REVIEW
Most authors who have a long list of books tend to trade quality writing for quantity. There are exemptions to this and one of the best is Catherine Ryan Hyde. Her writing is full of heart and you never put down something she has written with disappointment. Heaven Adjacent stands along with all the other books by Hyde that I love.  

Catherine Ryan Hyde’s books always shine a bright light on a moral lesson in her stories. Heaven Adjacent is no different. When I finished this book, like all her others, I felt more knowledgeable and have a better perspective on the quandary affecting the book's protagonist Roseanna. Usually, I try to not get into much detail regarding the story itself because I don’t ever want to ruin anything for the people who read my reviews. I am making an exception due to the fact I saw a great deal of myself in Roseanna. Therefore, helping me rethink the path that I am on and how I am handling it. After losing her best friend and law partner, she ran towards solitude purchasing a small secluded house with a great deal of land. While on this journey with her you realize that what you're feelings are telling you what is best might not always be what heals those deep wounds. As the story progresses, Roseanna softens around the edges relinquishing the badass lawyer attitude, learning that what you think you need is not always true. Hence, that what you least expect in life helps to heal those wounds also giving you a different outlook on it. As always for this author another spectacular read. 

Go now fellow readers and purchase a copy of the book below at 
your preferred link. 

PURCHASE HERE:
AMAZON | B&N | BAM!


The author of more than 30 published and forthcoming books, including ALLIE AND BEA, SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW, LEAVING BLYTHE RIVER, ASK HIM WHY, WORTHY, THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS, TAKE ME WITH YOU, WHERE WE BELONG, WHEN I FOUND YOU, WALK ME HOME, SECOND HAND HEART, DON'T LET ME GO, and WHEN YOU WERE OLDER. 

I'm an avid hiker, traveler, equestrian, and amateur photographer, and have released my first book of photos, 365 DAYS OF GRATITUDE: PHOTOS FROM A BEAUTIFUL WORLD. I am co-author, with fellow author and publishing industry blogger Anne R. Allen, of HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE: A SELF-HELP GUIDE.


Thursday, June 7, 2018

THE GATHERING Book Blitz & GIVEAWAY



The Gathering 
Bernadette Giacomazzo 
(The Uprising, #1)
Publication date: March 31st, 2018
Genres: Adult, Dystopian

The Uprising Series tells the story of three freedom fighters and their friends in high — and low — places that come together to overthrow a vainglorious Emperor and his militaristic Cabal to restore the city, and the way of life, they once knew and loved.
In The Gathering, Jamie Ryan has defected from the Cabal and has joined his former brothers-in-arms — Basile Perrinault and Kanoa Shinomura — to form a collective known as The Uprising. When an explosion leads to him crossing paths with Evanora Cunningham — a product of Jamie’s past — he discovers that The Uprising is bigger, and more important, than he thought.

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EXCERPT:
Chapter Thirteen
Jamie
I saw Emperor – looking like a hot air balloon, sounding as ridiculous as ever – blathering on about his personal Reichstag fire, and laying the blame of the explosion squarely at the feet of myself and my brothers-in-arms.
“…and it’s these traitors of the state – the threat to the security of my Empire of the United States of America – the defectors of the Cabal who go by Jamie Ryan and Basile Perrinault and, my greatest betrayal, Supreme Allied Commander Kanoa Shinomura…” he hollered into the microphone, which seemed to reverberate throughout the city.
At the sound of Kanoa’s name, the Cabal members below the balcony slammed the butts of their guns on the floor in rhythm. I knew that rhythm all too well – it was meant to be a war cry for those of us in the rank-and-file of the Cabal – but, to the untrained ear, it sounded like a machine gun going off…which was exactly the point.
But I couldn’t help but sneer at the accusation that the blast that nearly killed Evanora and Tommy was somehow our fault. He’d spent decades trying to catch us and failing miserably, yet in the same breath, believed we were inept enough to set off a blast that took no lives and could be cleaned up during a balmy New York evening. And he managed to sell this ridiculous belief to the crowd, no less.
“Let’s make something clear, asshole,” I muttered, “if it had been me and the boys that lit your shit up, you wouldn’t be standing here today.”
Despite the absurdity of the accusation – and despite the obvious absurdity of the accusation – the victims of psi just grunted along, agreeing with everything and anything that came out of Emperor’s mouth, in part because they didn’t know any better (they were psi victims, after all), and in part because any disagreement with what Emperor had to say was met with a fierce, painful punishment.
“His Word, Before All and Above All,” I muttered. “With liberty and justice for no one, so kiss my peasant Old New York ass and take a breath mint afterward, unless you like that funky aftertaste…”
My voice trailed off as my eyes focused on a strange woman on the balcony.
At first, I couldn’t discern who she was – she looked like someone I’d seen before, yet someone I’d never seen before.
Her hair was a garish white-blonde, stringy and lifeless, and pinned tightly behind her head with a set of black ceramic chopsticks. Her makeup was almost cartoonish – cat-like black eyeliner and matte black lipstick sat atop a ghostly white foundation. Even her outfit was a hideously hilarious cultural appropriation – a black silk kimono paired with a set of black stiletto heels. I’d seen Old New York 42nd Street prostitutes, with terrible heroin problems, sell the “Asian coquette” look better than what I’d seen before me now.
“Who the actual…” I began, hesitantly, unable to process who I was seeing before me.
And then it hit me, all at once, who she was.
For the first time in a long time, I was literally speechless.
When I could finally find my voice again, it barely came out in a whisper. “Rosie,” I squeaked.
I walked into the Ludlow Street apartment I shared with Angelique and was instantly greeted with the smell of a meat dish that, I would later learn, was called carneasada.
“Angelique!” I called out over the loud sizzling of steak as I kicked off my black Frye boots and set my matching acoustic guitar down. “Where are you, my love?”
“In here!” she called, out of sight, from the kitchen, where more clanging and banging sounds echoed over her voice.
I began walking through the apartment, shedding layers as I went along until I reached the kitchen wearing nothing but my black leather pants and a mischievous smile. I was hoping to have a little appetizer of crème d’Angelique before dinner, but when I reached the kitchen, I realized – much to my chagrin – that we weren’t alone.
Angelique, her hair tied back into a messy ponytail, was wearing a tight, white, see-through shorts jumper and a matching white apron. She was standing next to an unfamiliar-looking woman with a matching messy ponytail, but whose thick chocolate brown hair stood in sharp contrast to Angelique’s thin flaxen locks. The rest of her, too, was in stark contrast to Angelique, but not in a bad way – she was olive-skinned, in contrast to Angelique’s pale white skin; she was curvy, in contrast to Angelique’s ectomorphic figure; she was fiery, in contrast to Angelique’s ethereal nature.
They were standing side by side, working on something that smelled simply delicious. Angelique was mixing flour, sugar, and garlic powder, and her friend was adding melted butter and salted water to the resultant powder, then kneading it until it formed a dough.
“Am I interrupting something?” I asked as I walked behind Angelique, wrapped my arms around her waist, and kissed her neck, breathing in her scent of lilacs as I did so.
She smiled, then took her index finger and bopped the tip of my nose with the flour mixture. “Hey handsome,” she said, beatifically. “We’re making something special for you for dinner. We’ve got carne asada in the pan over there – we’ve got some arroz con gandules in the rice cooker – and we’re making…wait, girl, what’s this called?”
“Arepas,” her friend said, smiling as she continued to knead the dough between her hands, her silver thumb ring glistening in the light of the dusk as she did so.
“Right, arepas,” Angelique repeated. “Ramira here is teaching me all her magic ways – she says this is the exact dinner I need to make if I want my man to marry me.” She giggled, then elbowed Ramira, who giggled along with Angelique.
I couldn’t help but giggle, as well, as I unentwined myself from Angelique and walked over to Ramira to properly introduce myself. “I’m going to be stuffed for days with all this delicious food, so it’s only right that we become friends,” I began, extending my hand. “Hi there. I’m James Randall Ryan IV, I somehow lucked out enough to convince this lovely lady Angelique to be my girlfriend, and it’s a pleasure to meet you. You can call me Jamie.”
Ramira smiled, then shook my hand with two of her fingers, taking care not to smear the wet dough across my palm. “Well, my name is Ramira Diaz, Angelique is my best friend, and it’s a pleasure to meet you too. You can call me Rosie, though. Everyone else does.”
I sat under a wilting star magnolia tree and stared, intently, through the open window of a room that had to be Rosie’s dressing room. She peeled her black silk kimono off and turned her back to the frameless window, exposing her prominent ribs and shoulder blades as she did so. The sight of her suddenly-bare, emaciated frame shocked me, especially given how pronounced her curves were in our younger years, and tears welled up in my eyes yet again.
In the decades since Angelique and my son had died, I could count the number of times I’d cried on one hand. In the past 72 hours, though – as I realized that my best friend’s kid, and my best friend’s girlfriend, were alive and well and that the Uprising was bigger than I’d ever imagined – the tears came quickly and flowed easily, and I couldn’t decide if this was a sign of strength or weakness on my part.
Rosie slipped a shimmering white camisole over her emaciated frame, which she then tucked into a pair of white linen slacks. I couldn’t get over how thin she’d gotten, then wondered if this was by her own design, or if she was under orders from that evil husband of hers. No way would Jordan be cool with this, I thought to myself. On his fucking grave would this go on. On his fucking grave. And wouldn’t you know it – here we are, on his fucking grave?
I saw Rosie leave the room and begin to head down a flight of stairs, and I took that as an opportunity to get her alone, away from the rabid Cabal and out of sight of the vainglorious Emperor. She’d taken a few steps away from her building, and into Emperor’s Park, before passing by the wilting star magnolia tree that I was hiding behind. It was only when I saw the back of her slicked back, perfect ponytail – what a difference from the one she was wearing when we first met, I thought – that I saw the opportunity to get her alone and began walking behind her.
            “You’ve come a long way from making arepas on Ludlow Street,” I said, tapping her on the shoulder when I finally caught up with her."
She spun around, her face scrunched up in fear, and for a split second, I thought she was going to hit me. But just as quickly, she relaxed as her eyes registered who owned the disembodied voice. “Jamie,” she whispered tearfully. “You’re here. You’re alive. I didn’t realize…”
“How the hell did you not?” I asked, furrowing my eyebrows and side-eyeing her. “Your damned husband has been hunting me for decades.”
“I knew that,” she said, taking ragged breaths. “But just the fact that he was never able to take you alive led me to believe that you were…you know…” Her voice trailed off.
I wasn’t convinced, and I continued to stare at her intently as I scratched my left cheek, which was now beginning to show the first signs of salt-and-pepper beard stubble. “First of all, why the hell are you talking like you’re Queen Elizabeth? Second, let me just state it for the record: you give your asshole husband way too much credit if you think he can take me down.”
Rosie bit her lower lip, then shifted her eyes down. I put my hand under her chin and tipped her face up, forcing her eyes to meet mine as I tried, desperately, to search for a sign of the Rosie I once knew. “Rosie,” I whispered intently. “It’s me. You don’t have to hide from me.”
Her face was a blank slate. “My name is Rose. Rose Cunningham,” she said with flat affect.
“Oh, bullshit,” I whispered, even more intently. “Whatever happened to ‘call me Rosie, everyone else does’? What happened to that woman who was making areas in the kitchen with my Angelique?”
That got her attention, and her deep brown eyes flashed with fire as she balled up her fists and began swinging at me. “You shit! You bastard! You did it! You almost killed my baby!”
I ducked, bobbed and weaved, avoiding each blow as I carefully tried to talk her down from the ledge. “Rosie! What the hell are you talking about? I didn’t do that shit! I swear!”
She continued to swing at me. “Yes! Yes, you did!” she squealed tearfully, repeating the same “yes, yes” with each swing, her voice getting louder each time.
“Do you want to knock it off before the fuckin’ Cabal finds us, Rosie? The fuck is wrong with you? Jesus Christ!” I was shouting despite myself and began scanning the landscape frantically for Cabal soldiers that would have undoubtedly heard us, all while bobbing and weaving like a prizefighter to avoid getting punched in the face.
She swung even harder and squealed even louder. “You tried to kill my baby! Just like you killed yours!”
That line finally got me to react, and I had to steady my breathing to stop from clocking her in the mouth. Even in the throes of the worst of my Faustian behavior, I never hit a woman, and neither did any of my bandmates – the thought of violence against a woman, let alone a woman we’d loved, didn’t even cross our drug-addled minds.
Instead, I grabbed her wrists and forced them down to her sides, holding them in place at hip level as she struggled, trying to hit me until she finally began whimpering in defeat.
“Now you listen to me, Ramira Diaz, and you listen well,” I began, angrily. “You may have forgotten everything you were and are, but I sure as fuck haven’t forgotten a goddamn thing, and let me rest assure you, I never fuckin’ will.”
Her lower lip was trembling, her eyes were watering, and it became evident that she was on the verge of tears. Still, I continued. “So, let me get a few things out of the way now, so we’re not confused. Number one: that blast? It wasn’t me. It wasn’t anyone tied to me. It wasn’t anyone whose name I can even spell. Because let me assure you, again, that if it were me, or anyone tied to me, we’d have burned down the entire fuckin’ city, even if it meant killing ourselves in the process, and wouldn’t have left a survivor anywhere on this God-forsaken island.
“Number two: you know goddamn well I didn’t kill Angelique or our baby. Now I wear their death on my heart every. Fucking. Day. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in twenty fucking years, from the day they were killed, because I can’t get their murders out of my mind. There are times I wish I was dead, just so that I don’t have to live with the guilt of their murders, but no, here I am and ain’t that a fuckin’ bitch from Hell. I’d give all the money in the world to have my Angelique back. I’d trade my life for Jordan’s any day of the week. And my son – my only legacy – never had a chance at life, and you think that’s all fair?
“Number three – and this is the most important part, Rosie, goddamnit, you’d better fuckin’ listen to this if you listen to nothing else: remember that promise I made to you in the hospital room? All those years ago? Because I fuckin’ do. And that’s why when Evanora and Tommy came down the Bowery after the blast, and I realized who she was, I made sure she was safe and clean and warm…”
Rosie looked shocked. “Wait. She came to you?”
I searched her face, trying to see if I could register where her loyalties lie before I continued to answer the question. For some reason, however, I couldn’t make it out. I even tried to read Rosie’s mind using a gentle form of psi, but I still couldn’t read her mind at all. It was like trying to probe a brick wall. So, to protect Evanora – and the rest of us – I chose to cover my tracks. “Yeah,” I said airily, “she mentioned something about listening to Uprising Radio.”
The name of Uprising Radio registered some type of recognition with Rosie, and her eyes lit up slightly. “My baby has heard Uprising Radio?”
“I don’t know for sure,” I continued, still adopting an airy effect, “but I’m pretty sure that’s what she said.” Using my Cabal training, I put a mental wall between my thoughts and Rosie, mostly because I didn’t know how much training she’d had in the psi arts, and I wasn’t sure if she, too, could read my mind. And if God forbid, her loyalties lied with that pathetic excuse of her husband, I could at least protect, if not myself, then the whole Uprising movement.
I made sure the wall was firmly in place before I continued. “I think I’ve heard Uprising Radio a few times, but I don’t know much about it, who does it, or anything of the sort.”
“Yeah,” Rosie said, hesitantly, behind a mental brick wall of her own, “I have no idea, either.”
We were calmer, now – our breath was steady, our thoughts were collected, and Rosie’s fists were limp. I finally felt confident that she wasn’t going to try to hit me again, so I loosened my grip on her wrists.
But I suddenly found myself unable to let her go, so I slid my hands from her wrists to her hands and grabbed her fingers lightly. I was overcome with emotion.
“What is it, Jamie?” Her voice was cracking.
I exhaled loudly, then drew in a ragged breath. “Do you think about him, Rosie? Do you think about Jordan at all?”
She closed her eyes and allowed the tears to fall as she exhaled shakily. “Every day of my life,” she said softly. “There’s not a day that goes by that Jordan doesn’t cross my mind. Every time I look at Evanora – every time I hear her laugh – he comes to my mind. Sometimes, she gives me this look – you remember, Jamie? You remember when Jordan would hear something that was just too stupid for words, and he would get this look on his face, like, ‘were you dropped on your head as a child?’” – and to this, I gave a half-smile and a nod – “and now, she gets that look. And that one eyebrow” – she took her finger and drew on her left eyebrow – “it would just go up like…like…”
She dropped her hand as her voice trailed off, her eyes filling with tears.
I nodded my head, closed my eyes, and sighed. “Fuckin’ guy,” I said, opening my eyes and looking at Rosie. “So. You didn’t see me, right?”
Rosie smiled and winked at me. “Ivan Sapphire? Please. Get over yourself, rock star.” She squeezed my hands one last time for good measure. “I’m going to leave now. I’m not going to look back because I don’t want to see where you’re going. This way, if someone with bad intentions against you asks me if I know where you are, I can answer honestly when I say I don’t know. But just because I don’t look back, doesn’t mean I want to see you go. I need you to understand that, Jamie Ryan. I don’t need you to over-analyze things that don’t need over-analyzing. I need you to let me go, Jamie Ryan, and I need you to know that I love you, and I thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”
She finally let go of my hands, gave me a slight nod, then turned and walked back to her home. I watched her, silently, keeping the promise I made so long ago to Jordan Barker and didn’t leave what was once known as Central Park until I saw, for sure, that she was safe inside.


Author Bio:
With an impressive list of credentials earned over the course of two decades, Bernadette R. Giacomazzo is a multi-hyphenate in the truest sense of the word: an editor, writer, photographer, publicist, and digital marketing specialist who has demonstrated an uncanny ability to thrive in each industry with equal aplomb. Her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, People, Us Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and many, many more. She served as the news editor of Go! NYC Magazine for nearly a decade, the executive editor of LatinTRENDS Magazine for five years, the eye candy editor of XXL Magazine for two years, and the editor-at-large at iOne/Zona de Sabor for two years. As a publicist, she has worked with the likes of Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and his G-Unit record label, rapper Kool G. Rap, and various photographers, artists, and models. As a digital marketing specialist, Bernadette is Google Adwords certified, has an advanced knowledge of SEO, PPC, link-building, and other digital marketing techniques, and has worked for a variety of clients in the legal, medical, and real estate industries.
Based in New York City, Bernadette is the co-author of Swimming with Sharks: A Real World, How-To Guide to Success (and Failure) in the Business of Music (for the 21st Century), and the author of the forthcoming dystopian fiction series, The Uprising. She also contributed a story to the upcoming Beyonce Knowles tribute anthology, The King Bey Bible, which will be available in bookstores nationwide in the summer of 2018.

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