Waking Amelia

Hey guys. HAPPY MONDAY! I’m feeling generous today. Check out a sneak peak of the first chapter of the 3rd book in the LIKE A DREAM SERIES

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CHAPTER 1:

Howling winds brush against Amelia’s window, taunting Aaron. He would give anything to get a whiff of the two a.m. breeze instead of being trapped in a room, inhaling the same suffocating stale air as Leona. Sweat emanates from his pores and clings to his clothes. Leona, livid, shifts her glare from Aaron to Amelia before she finally steps back and leaves the room.

Aaron’s eyes remain glued to the door until he is certain Leona is down the hall; then, he goes into the bathroom and splashes cold water on his face. He looks into the mirror—his reflection stares back at him, and he seriously considers punching it in the face. At that moment, he understands his own fury and realizes he was about to kill Leona with his bare hands. That realization changes everything.

He goes back to bed and holds Amelia in his arms until she falls asleep. Then he eases out of bed, takes his phone out of his pocket, quietly strolls out onto her back porch, and makes a call.

“What time is it? Are you alright son?” Mason asks through a yawn.

“It’s pretty late, Dad. But I wanted to let you know that I’ll be at Amelia’s for a while, maybe even a few days. I’m really worried about her, and I have to make sure she’s safe.”

“Safe? Safe from what? I’m worried about you, Aaron. Just hours ago, you lost your mother—I think you should be with your family.”

“I’m fine. If I need anything I’ll call, but just give me a couple of days,” Aaron whispers.

“I don’t know what’s going on with Amelia, but I know you guys are hiding something. Is there anything I need to know?”

Aaron bangs his head against his fist and responds, “No. I’ll talk to you soon, Dad, I love you.”

“Alright…I guess. I love you too, son. Goodnight.”

Aaron hangs up abruptly and paces back and forth. He wants to break something—anything. He hates lying almost as much as he hates Leona. He knows his dad can never know what is really going on here. If he did, Aaron would be forbidden to step foot anywhere near Amelia, and that can never happen. He moves from the porch to their favorite tree. Fallen leaves dance through the air as the cool breeze awakens the backyard. Every event that has come to pass since the first time he saw her face races through his mind like a fast-forwarded movie. Her piercing blue eyes have so much life, even though they’re hiding the most horrific secrets.

She has suffered so much, he considers. Broken bones, contusions, and bruises—and that’s just the physical part. “What have I done,” he whispers as tears pool his eyes. I should’ve trusted my gut instead of placating her. Feeling physically ill and ashamed of himself, he pulls his phone back out of his pocket, hoping to be the one to end this for good. He knows he can’t let this go on any longer and refuses to see another bruise on Amelia’s beautiful body.

Crack!

He whirls around just as a dark figure lunges for him. They tussle in the grass, rolling and punching until Aaron victoriously straddles the masked stranger and grabs a large rock. He grits his teeth and raises his weapon in the air. Suddenly, a sharp prick stabs his arm. He pauses. His sense of smell disappears. The rock slips from his fingers. Plunk! He helplessly falls on his back and stares at the dark, starry sky until it slowly fades to away.

*****

The corners of Leona’s mouth lift into a smile. Mason hands her a cup of black coffee. She lightly blows the steam and sips slowly. Mason clasps his hands together and rests his elbows on the mahogany table.

“I can’t express how sorry I am for your loss. Gisel was an amazing woman,” Leona says and takes another sip.

His lips form a hard line, and he rubs his bloodshot eyes. Leona notices the purple, puffy bags beneath and realizes he hasn’t slept much, if at all. The only time she’s ever felt remotely close to what he must feel was when her father died. She remembers that day as if it was hours ago. She will never forget how empty she felt inside. She was aware of the puffiness and soreness of her own eyes. She understands how grief can transform the most beautiful person into a washed up entity within minutes; as if pain is something to be worn.

“Thank you. I appreciate you coming by this morning,” Mason utters.

“Amelia informed me last night, and I must say, my heart sank when I heard the news. Losing a spouse is never easy. I wish I could say it’ll get easier, but it never does. You just learn to live with it.” She takes another sip of coffee and peers down at her watch.

“Well, not to be insensitive—I never wanted to be a part of this club. I suppose nobody wants to be, but I always assumed that I would be the one to go first since Gisel was a few years younger than me,” Mason says. He wipes away a tear and looks over his shoulder. “You know, I still expect her to come walking out of the room. I can practically hear her fussing at me for putting too much sugar in my coffee…and this is just day one.” He brings a tissue to his nose and rubs it red.

Leona pats his hand. “You’ll be okay, Mason. Just take it one day at a time. If there ever was a time for you to be vulnerable, this is it.” She checks the time again and slowly rises from her chair. “Just let me know if there’s anything you need.”

“Actually there is. I got a call from Aaron late last night, and I would appreciate it if you would look after him for me. He claims to be fine, but I know he’s hurting. He and Gisel had this unbreakable bond. It angers me that he’s trying to be tough when I know he must feel lost. Nonetheless, he wants to be with Amelia, and I know she’s good for him. I hope it’s okay that he’s there.”

Leona grimaces and then smiles. “Of course it’s okay. Aaron is no trouble at all. I’ll take good care of him. Don’t worry about anything.”

“Thank you,” he says. He straightens and walks her out. She hugs him goodbye and rushes to her car. She pulls out her phone and sends a text message.

Mason turns to walk back inside, but not before blowing a kiss into the bright sky. “Rest in Heaven, honey,” he whispers.

 

*****

While still puffing from a bastard of a run, Brady opens the door to his apartment and reluctantly walks in. He leans against the door and wonders just how long he’s going to have to keep up this persona. Some days are easier than others, but today feels off, and regardless of the run, he finds it hard to breathe. His line of work has always been demanding; some jobs last a few months while others may last a year. But this particular assignment vexes him. If he could crawl out of his skin, he would: that’s what bothers him the most. He takes a bottle of water from his fridge and swigs half of it in one gulp.

Being a cop was insufferable most days. He’d threatened to quit numerous times – more than he could count – every time another criminal went free. But it was all part of the job, and eventually he grew a thick skin. He’d come to accept that the justice system was warped and all he could do was his job as best he could. He’d learned the hard way that some things were just beyond his control, which is what got him through for thirty years. When he decided to retire and become a private investigator, he knew he’d found his true calling. This job satisfied the phantom itch in his life that he needed to scratch.  He was so effective that he single-handily turned countless criminals over to the police. He presented them with so much evidence it was virtually impossible that the culprits were ever getting out of jail. He took pride in his success—until now.

After a year on the case, he is losing faith in himself and is frustrated that he doesn’t have what he needs to put Leona behind bars—no body, no witnesses, and no real evidence, which means no case. Navid is his only hope, but he has disappeared. If I can’t get a hold of the one person who can put Leona away, then this is a lost cause, he laments. Still, he is not ready to give up; he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if she is allowed to live out the rest of her days as a free woman. The extensive amount of time he has spent with her has only heightened his longing for justice.

His phone rings. He cringes when he sees who’s calling, but answers it anyway.

“Brady, please tell me you’ve got something,” the woman says.

He leans against the edge of the kitchen table and takes a deep breath. “Ramona, if I had anything to share I would’ve called you.”

“That witch killed my brother, Brady!

 

Get your copy of WAKING AMELIA HERE!!

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Waking Amelia

Hey guys! The 3rd book in the LIKE A DREAM SERIES is only $2.99 for a limited time. Tap the link to find out the conclusion of Amelia and Aaron’s story. here

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Waking Amelia **New Release**

Hey guys, sorry it’s been a while. I’ve been writing and working on publishing the 3rd book in the Like a Dream series. I’m happy to announce that Waking Amelia is finally available. Tap here for print and here for the E-book!! If you haven’t gotten a chance to read the 1st two books you definitely want to check those out first. For Like a Dream tap here and for Monstrous Ties click here

Waking-Amelia-Amazon-Ebook

If you haven’t gotten a chance to read the 1st two books you definitely want to check those out first. For Like a Dream tap here and for Monstrous Ties click here

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Netflix: The Haunting of Hill House

hill house

One of the reasons I wanted to watch this series is because I am a big fan of horror movies and it’s the perfect time of year to get you in the Halloween spirit. Boy was I surprised at how well this show was written and directed. When it comes to scary movies, you don’t expect much in terms of story line and characters. All you know is that there is a monster killing people for no apparent reason and we all get a thrill at the ominous tones that inform us of an impending scary scene. As a child I really enjoyed Freddy Krueger and Jason because I found it more funny than scary, especially when someone was being chased by a walking villain only to fall and roll around in fear instead of getting the heck out of there.

I never got a chance to read The Haunting of Hill House, which was written by the great Shirley Jackson, but I did see a 90’s movie version of the book, which I thought was pretty good.

The show begins with a family of seven living in a 100 year old house which we learn later that they bought it as a fixer upper and was only supposed to stay over the summer, long enough to fix it up and sell it. Unfortunately, strange things started to happen inside the house to the point that everyone started to see things that weren’t there and experienced very vivid nightmares about ghosts who may be living in the house.

The first episode starts where Nelly, one of the set of twins is screaming because she keeps having nightmares about the same scary lady. She shares a room with her twin brother Luke, who also shares his own fears about seeing things. If you enjoy a lot of “then” and “now”, then you’ll really like the layout of the story. The episodes are divided from each person’s point of view and what they experienced in the house. Now that the five kids have grown up, we learn how the house affected them when they were kids through the flashbacks and what horrible demons they carry with them in present time from day to day. As I watched each episode, I got more and more mad at the parents because there were some scenes that were so terrible I thought why not just grab your kids and get them out of the house. But that would have made too much sense.

In present time, Steven Crain, who is the oldest son is famous for writing a book about his experiences in the house. But his siblings aren’t too pleased with what he wrote because he capitalized on their grief and experiences all the while in disbelief about the  things they actually saw. From what we see, the family is torn apart by a tragic event that left with them with more questions and sadness.

The parents, Hugh and Olivia Crain seem like the best parents in the world but we learn that being inside the house has taken a toll on them both, especially Olivia. Their neighbors, the Dudleys have warned them about paranormal events that have happened inside the house over the years and that they refuse to come over after dark, basically implying that the house is somehow alive and is what’s causing everyone to see things that aren’t there and causing them to behave a certain way.

For someone who doesn’t scare easily, I found myself covering my eyes and jumping a lot. There was one car scene where I actually screamed. So if you watch this show, just brace yourself. You really can’t prepare for it. There was a few tragic parts of the story I wish would’ve turned out differently but it all came together in the end and it answered any questions I may have had from earlier episodes. You can’t help but feel sorry for the entire family and what they went through but overall I give it 5 stars because it was very good from beginning to end. If there is a season 2 I’m in!!

 

Don’t forget to grab a copy of my two novels, Like a Dream and Monstrous Ties before the 3rd book in the series comes out!! Tap here for both books.

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Thursday thoughts

Favorite Netflix Shows

Netflix is one of the best things invented. There is nothing better than turning on the television and binge-watching your favorite show instead of having to wait week after week to find out what’s going to happen. I love that we can watch it whenever we’re ready and at our own pace. Check out my list of favorite Netflix shows. With so many news shows coming out, don’t be surprised if my list changes in the future 😉

 

  1. THE KILLING

Kill show

This show had me hooked by the first episode. Right away we’re catapulted into the terrible moment when a family reports their daughter missing. Two detectives with shady pasts are assigned to the case but they still hustle to find answers while the victim’s family deals with their horrifying reality.

 

  1. MAKING A MURDERER

Murder show

I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this show but by the time I finished it I was blown away. It’s centered around the case of a man who spent years in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. The messed up part is that it looks like the police framed him for it. When the man finally gets a pardon and is released, he is yet again accused of another crime and is arrested. This show is very addicting and sad because it’s someone’s real life. I can’t wait for season 2.

 

  1. STRANGER THINGS

Strange show

I really liked this show and the eighties vibe brings back so many memories. The kids make this show so amazing and funny even though they are surrounded by dark and horrific events. The premise is about how three boys and a gifted girl band together to find their missing friend, who is trapped in another universe. Thank goodness I can binge watch this show because I don’t think I could handle waiting.

 

  1. DAREDEVIL

Dare show

Who can resist a comic hero with awesome kick-butt skills? Did I mention he’s blind and can put a man down faster than a person who can see? I’m so glad they made a show out of it because I am hooked. As a kid I wasn’t one to gravitate to comic books but I can honestly say that this show can hold it’s own.

 

  1. 13 REASONS WHY

13 show

I have mixed feeling about this show but I’m so glad I saw it. I felt compelled to see how it was going to end. The narrator is the girl who committed suicide. She informs the audience that there are thirteen reasons why she did what she did. She left a tape for each person she blamed. I really empathized with the victim as well as each of her friends. When watching something like this, you always wish the person could’ve gotten help before it was too late.

 

  1. LUKE CAGE

Luke show

This comic hero is a dream come true to a dangerous city like Harlem. While incarcerated, Luke Cage agrees to an experiment but it goes terribly wrong, leaving him super strong and bullet proof. Lucky for Harlem, he has a good heart and uses his powers for good, even though there are some evil people trying desperately to get in his way. It’s full of action, a little romance, and comedy which are a great combination.

 

  1. ARROW

Arrow show

If you haven’t guessed by now I’m really into comic heroes. This is my favorite show and I can’t get enough. Every time I watch it there is something even more suspenseful and explosive than before. Plus I must admit it’s really nice to see Arrow doing his work out routines. Oliver Queen and his team go through great lengths to save their city while still trying to be as normal as possible.

 

Don’t forget to check out the books in my Like a Dream Series! Tap here for a great deal on both books. Waking Amelia, the 3rd installment will be out soon and I can’t wait for you guys to read it.

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Comfort food

AMAZING CASSEROLES

It’s that time of year for comfort food. Casseroles are at the top of my list for go-to meals that don’t take long to prepare and will feed the entire family. I’ve created a list of some of the best casseroles to sink your teeth into.

 

8. TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE

tuna

The three main ingredients for this delicious concoction is tuna, egg noodles, and cream of mushroom soup. It is one of the easiest casseroles you can make and it tastes even better the next day.

 

  1. CORN CASSEROLE

corn

I tasted corn casserole for the first time a few years ago and I was hooked ever since. It is great as a side dish or as a main entrée. Some of the ingredients include sour cream, corn muffin mix, and corn. This is one of those recipes that are hard to mess up. It doesn’t take much to put together and is well worth it.

 

  1. BROCCOLI RICE CASSEROLE

Brocc

This recipe is so delicious and even though it’s a casserole, I convince myself that it’s healthy because it has broccoli and I substitute the white rice for brown rice. Either way it’s really good and savory.

 

  1. TATER TOT CASSEROLE

tater

I love the crisp of the tater tots and creaminess of the ground beef mixed with cream of mushroom soup. You layer the meat, soup, and cheese, and it all comes together in a tasty delight.

 

  1. BUFFALO CHICKEN CASSEROLE

buff

When I first saw this recipe I assumed it would be really high in calories but it’s a tasty dish with low carbs. After roasting cauliflower in the oven, you add the rotisserie chicken mixed with a few other ingredients and out comes a delicious meal with a little kick from the buffalo sauce. You can also serve it with crackers as a dip.

 

  1. CHICKEN TETRAZZINI

Tetra

I’ve had Chicken Tetrazzini many ways but my favorite is with the white sauce. It is such a fulfilling dish with rich spaghetti noodles and sour cream. I have to stop myself from eating it because it’s so addicting.

 

  1. STUFFED PEPPER CASSEROLE

pepper

I am a big fan of stuffed peppers but this casserole is equally as good. You use the same ingredients except you simply chop the peppers and add everything in a pot and it all gloriously cooks together. Top it with some cheese and get lost in the delicious flavors.

 

  1. CHEESY CHICKEN ALFREDO CASSEROLE

alfredo

This is hands down my favorite casserole. Anything with Alfredo sauce is a win for me. You can use any noodles you like, but I like to use the penne pasta because the sauce and cheese gets stuck inside and it makes it so much better. Plus penne pastas won’t get mushy, making them taste even better as leftovers.

 

Check out the 1st two books in my YA series called Like a Dream. Tap here for Like a Dream and here for Monstrous Ties. The 3rd book in the series will be out soon!!

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Thursday Thoughts

Poem: You

 

 

 

love-560783_640

I wanted more,

embraced everything,

but all I needed was you…

 

To read more by Shina James check out her YA Like a Dream series here

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