It’s #ReleaseDay “Whatever It Takes” the new #Psychological #Thriller by S.Burke is #NowAvailable #RRBC #RWISA #IARTG

Whatever It Takes NOW AVAILABLE BANNER by EEVA

Hello everyone and welcome to the Release Day for my latest Psychological Thriller “Whatever It Takes”.

Whatever it Takes Book Cover for all posts.

BLURB:

James Kincaid had it all.

He’d made it to the ‘A’ list in Hollywood, a town that prized and idolized winners above all else. Three golden statuettes currently graced the mantle of his Los Angeles mansion. Next year’s Oscars held the sweet promise of more.

Then life began exacting a price that no man could be expected to pay as the people he cared about began dying and dying badly.

He couldn’t move on with his life or the dream without knowing why.

Andi O’Connor is the woman he’d hired to do ‘whatever it takes’ to find him the answers.

Could this disenchanted, street-hardened, ex-homicide cop uncover the truth without adding to the growing list of those already sacrificed on the altar of one besotted human’s insanity?

From Hollywood to New York, the body count continues to rise. Time is not on their side.’

#

Today I’m celebrating the release of Whatever It Takes by introducing you to Andi O’Connor.

I had such a marvelous time creating Andi.  She was both a challenge and a joy to breathe life into.

In Chapter 1 we first meet Andi. After much soul searching she has tendered her resignation as head of crack Homicide Investigation Team with the NYPD.

Say Hello to Andi the morning after her farewell celebration.

 

Chapter 2.

Andi grabbed her ringing iPhone and smiled as her best friend Keiko’s number came up. She tried not to give away how hungover she was as she answered. “G’mornin, sunshine.”

“Sunshine is it? How’re you shaping up this mornin’?”

“I’d like to say great, but, it’s not pretty. Just how much did we drink last night?”

“You don’t want to know, trust me.”

“I vaguely recall a couple of the guys pouring me into a cab. Did I do anything I should have been arrested for?”

“Not unless murdering karaoke is now a capital offense. That was some farewell, girlfriend.”

“Oh, God. Really? Karaoke?”

“Well, the guys actually voted for pole dancing. I figured karaoke might be easier to live down.”

“It didn’t end well, did it?”

Keiko spluttered, “Last I saw, two of the uniformed guys went searching for duct tape.”

Andi laughed before she remembered how fragile her head was. “Oh, hell. You know I actually caught myself getting into work mode just before you rang. Then reality kicked back in.”

“You need to get away for a while, Andi. Get your head sorted.”

“Yeah. Yeah, I do. You know I’m gonna miss it. Well, some of it.”

“Have you thought through your options? You could always use that Harvard degree, girlfriend.”

“Oh hell, Keiko, I know. I need to give that a lot of thought. I always have that as an option whatever I decide to do now.  I just don’t know which direction I’m headed in yet.”

“Whatever you decide to do, you know they’ll welcome you back here with open arms.”

“Thanks, hon, but I can’t see me ever doing that. I’m not good at traveling backward.” Andi closed off discussion on that topic, “Anyways, are you on shift today?”

“No, thank God. My stomach couldn’t handle a homicide scene at the moment.”

“That’s what you get for being so good at your job.”

“Anybody can read a camera image, Andi.”

“Not everybody can find the things you find in those images. I wish I had that skill.”

“Yeah, and I’d love to head a team the way you do. Did. So let’s just admire each other’s brilliance and get on with it.”

Andi laughed, “I’m already missing you, smart-ass.”

“We’ll catch up next week. Doug’s back in town on Thursday, but that’s the only night I won’t be free for a couple of hours.”

“I’ll give you a call.”

“Okay, hon. I’ll talk to you then.”

###

Thanks so much for stopping by to help me celebrate my release day. I hope you enjoyed this very brief glimpse into Andi O’Connor.

Contact the author.

Whatever It Takes Now On AMAZON for $0.99

Twitter:   @pursoot

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/StaceyandSuzie

Blog/Website:

Welcome to the World of Suzanne Burke

 

 

Welcome the #RRBC Spotlight Author for May 2019. Charles W. Jones @ChuckWesJ #RRBC

Thank you for joining me as we celebrate the Rave Reviews Book Club Spotlight Author for May 2019.

Please welcome and congratulate Charles W. Jones on his well-earned place in the Spotlight.

Let’s meet Charles.

Charles Jones bio pic for SPOTLIGHT BLOG TOUR

Hi, my name is Charles W. Jones, and I’m a horror author, but just because I write horror or thrillers, it doesn’t mean that it’s the only thing I read or watch. I enjoy many other genres, even romance, but please don’t tell anyone. When I write, I don’t go into thinking that this is going to be pages upon pages of gore. It would get boring quickly if that’s all there was to it.

There’s so much more to my stories than the horror aspects; I think so anyway. I like to incorporate other genres while attempting to maintain a layer of darkness to give a fuller reading experience.

I watch people’s interactions in real life as well as movies and TV shows to get inspiration. Walking the streets of LODO (Lower Downtown Denver) is always great, seeing people walking hand in hand, or the sketchier ones lurking, trying not to be obvious that they are up to no good. Even taking a walk in the mountains gives me visions as I enjoy the fresh air with my husband when we try to get away from the congestion of the city.

When I experience my muse’s touch evaporating from one story, I can usually find something else to write that keeps the creative juices flowing. I experienced this when I started writing World Circus. I ended up writing three books that weren’t part of the Circus Tarot Trilogy; well, one has nothing to do with the trilogy, the other two have characters who found their way into World Circus. The importance is to keep writing even if it means working on something else.

Thanks for stopping by today to check out today’s post.

Charles JONES TAROT COVER FOR SPOTLIGHT BLOG TOUR

Don’t forget to get your copy of Circus Tarot at Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00785VJIW

Find Charles W Jones at the following places

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChuckWesJ

Facebook: https://facebook.com/ChuckWesJ

Website: https://charleswjonesauthor.com

 

#BlogTour “Just Her Poetry: Seasons of a Soul” by D.L. Finn @dlfinnauthor #RRBC #RWISA #NewRelease #poetry.

I’m delighted to share in the excitement of this New Release by author D.L Finn. This is her first release of a book of her poetry. “Just Her Poetry: Seasons of a Soul” Please make her welcome.

BLOG TOUR DLFINN BOOK COVER JUST HER POETRYJust Her Poetry Cover (2).jpgThank you, Suzanne, for having me on your blog to celebrate the release of my first poetry book, “Just Her Poetry Seasons of a Soul.”

Finn Facts:

  1. I have a tittering laugh that my older grandkids find amusing.
  2. I’m a cat person who has dogs.

BLOG TOUR DLFINN BOOK COVER JUST HER POETRYJust Her Poetry Cover (2)

Blurb:

Take a journey with D.L. Finn as she blends her love of nature with her deepest emotions. Sit with her on the forest floor observing its tranquil beauty, or stroll along the ocean’s shore admiring the vastness of its horizon. Here in these peaceful moments you’ll be able to experience her thoughts and feelings in the light—and in the darkness. This is a thought-provoking collection of poetry that invites the reader into all the seasons of a soul.

Excerpt from THE EMOTIONS: Those Feelings

WHIRLWIND

It entered my life like a storm…

Blowing everything familiar away from me.

I clung to the numbness it left behind.

It holds me above the weight of evil

That tries to drown me in its darkness.

I gasp to fill my lungs in this whirlwind

That swirls life around me hitting me with debris.

I’ve stopped ducking the pain, coming to expect it.

My normal life is ripped away from me, cruelly.

My comforts—gone

My emotions—grim

My distrust—growing

I swirl in this whirlwind brought to me like a present…

All I can do is survive this whirlwind of illness.

Amazon Purchase Link

RWISA PROFILE DENISE FINN

D.L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to the Sierra foothills in Nevada City, CA. She immersed herself in reading all types of books, but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, being surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations vary from children’s books, young adult fantasy, and adult paranormal romance to an autobiography with poetry. She continues on her adventures with an open invitation for her readers to join her.

D.L. Finn Links:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Pinterest

D.L. Finn blog

 

Thanks so much for joining in the excitement today. Your thoughts and comments are always appreciated.

Welcome to “THE BUTTON” Blog Tour! @dlfinnAuthor #4WillsPub #RWISA #RRBC

Hello and welcome to “The Button” Blog Tour. Today, I’m delighted to be hosting talented author D.L Finn.

BOOK BLOG PROMO COVER THE BUTTON

RWISA PROFILE DENISE FINN

Meet The Author:

D.L. Finn is an independent California local, who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 relocated with her husband, kids, dogs and cats to the Sierra foothills in Nevada City, CA. She immersed herself in reading all types of books, but especially loved romance, horror and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, being surrounded by towering pines, oaks and cedars, her creativity was cradled until it bloomed. Her creations vary from children’s books, young adult fantasy, adult paranormal romance to an autobiography with poetry. She continues on her adventure with an open invitation to her readers to join her.

BOOK BLOG PROMO COVER THE BUTTON

Blurb:

Lynn Hill left a difficult childhood behind when she turned eighteen. The 1980s were going to be the beginning of a great life. Then what started as an ordinary evening out with her best friend, Stacy, turns into a nightmare. Lynn hears warnings: “Go!” “Leave!” Believing she is hearing things after partying too much, she goes back for one more drink before going home. That decision sets off a chain of events that nothing could have prepared her for. While humans and not-so-human beings are attempting to either help or harm her, Lynn risks everything to find the only person she trusts, Stacy. Who can help her? The stepbrother who shows up right when she needs him or the attractive, helpful bartender who gives her his phone number? Lynn must learn to trust again. Her survival depends on it in this paranormal thriller.

***

The Button Characters:

Was I as wild as Lynn and Stacy “back in the day”? That’s an interesting question. I suppose it depends on how you define the word “wild” and the time frame. 1980 was the year when I moved into my first apartment, but I was married in 1983. So, there were only a couple of years where I could tap into my limited knowledge and research to the story.

I might have a friend or two wondering if I’d bring that up. The good thing about that is we are the only ones that know whether I did or did not.

Lynn Hill is a survivor. She grew up in an abusive household. She lost hope at 14-years-old and tried to take her life, but she had angels watching over her. Now she’s a rebel with a button, a determination to take care of herself, and unsure whether she believes in love. I’m sure there’s a bit of me hidden in Lynn, the survivor. We were both hairdressers, too.

Kent Stuart works as a bartender. Lynn is immediately attracted to him, even with his goofy quotes, but he seems interested in her best friend, Stacy. Later when they meet again outside, Lynn decides she’s misjudged him and accepts the offered phone number. Lynn is unaware that there’s another side to him and another job.

Stacy Kelly has been Lynn’s best friend since they were kids. They’re roommates and like sisters. She’s a beautiful blond that’s full of herself but very loyal to Lynn. She’s the only person Lynn completely trusts. When Stacy goes missing, Lynn will do whatever it takes to find her.

Warren Stone is Lynn’s stepbrother. Newly released from prison he reaches out to Lynn when she needs someone the most. He declares he’s changed from his time in jail. Warren declares he wants to make up for not being there for her in the past. They both share the same abusive childhood, and she wants to trust him.

The Angels: Zelina, “This Second Chance” is training the angel Thomas, who’s had issues in the past. Zelina brought Thomas along when she spoke to Lynn in her coma. Zelina and Thomas are keeping an eye on Lynn until she needs them.

Dian the evildwel has a hold of someone near Lynn. She thrives and feeds off fear. Her current host satisfies all her needs, but she desires Lynn’s death.

The battle begins…will Lynn survive?

***

The Button Tour Giveaway:

2- “The Button” Kindle Format

$5 Amazon Gift Card

1-“The Button” Signed Paperback and Book Marker

D.L. Finn’s social media:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Pinterest

Linkedin

Google

Links to purchase:

Amazon

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble

Thanks so much for stopping by on an exciting day for Author D.L Finn, and a great time to be a reader of Paranormal. Please join in by leaving your comments.

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site.  If you’d like to book your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE.  
Lastly, D.L. is a member of the best book club ever – RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB {#RRBC} and she’s also a member of the very elite, RAVE WRITERS -INT’L SOCIETY OF AUTHORS {RWISA}! If you’re looking for amazing support as an author, or if you simply love books, JOIN US! We’d love to have you!

Book Review: “Vanished” by Mark Bierman @mbiermanauthor #RRBC #IARTG #MustRead #Thriller

BOOK REVIEW COVER VANISHED BY MARK BIERMAN.jpg

Hello and a warm welcome to my latest book review.

BOOK REVIEW: “Vanished” by Mark Bierman.

Meet the author:

BOOK REVIEW PROFILE PIC MARK BIERMAN

Born and raised on a farm near Brockville, Ontario, Mark Bierman’s childhood consisted of chores, riding horses, snowmobile races across open fields, fishing trips to a local lake, and many other outdoor adventures. He is also an avid reader of both fiction and non. Mark enjoys the sport of River Boarding and thrives on adventure.

Transitioning towards adulthood also meant moving from the farm and into large urban areas that introduced this “country boy” to life in the big cities.

Drawing on his many experiences as a private investigator and later a Correctional Officer, Mark combines his unique experiences and imagination to create his stories and characters.

BOOK COVER:

BOOK REVIEW COVER VANISHED BY MARK BIERMAN

 Book Blurb.

Tragedy . . . heartache . . . how much more can Tyler Montgomery and John Webster take? This missions trip, the “healing” one, has only added fresh layers of pain. Construction of an orphanage in Haiti’s northwest . . . yes. But a doomed rescue operation, human traffickers, human anomalies, extreme personal danger . . . risk of death? They hadn’t signed up for those.
Turning their backs on the crisis, however, is unthinkable, it’s just not who they are.

***

 

My REVIEW: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 A Riveting insightful and moving reading experience.

Many authors shy away from the dark side of human behavior. Author Mark Bierman tackles it head-on. The breadth and depth of “Vanished” is astounding. The authors characterizations of the central protagonists bring them to life on the page. We as readers can see them, hear them and through the words of this writer we are granted an insight into both their dreams and their pain. Human trafficking will never be eradicated if we continue to close our eyes to its existence.  I salute Mark Bierman for his ability to shine a spotlight on it, while also allowing us to see into the hearts and minds of those that rail against it, and take action to help save a child caught up in the horror.

The pacing is fast, it kept me turning pages, eager to discover the ultimate outcome. The author has drawn widely on his experiences as a private investigator to bring us a book that shines and is resoundingly believable throughout.

If you enjoy a moving, provocative and emotionally charged reading experience then this is an absolute must-read.

CONTACT the AUTHOR:

On TWITTER

Purchase VANISHED on AMAZON.Com

On FACEBOOK

On Goodreads.

 

#Valentine’sDay #ShortStory “Shall We Dance.” #RRBC #IARTG #Romance

love is ommortal valentines day image

“Shall We Dance”

By

Suzanne Burke.

 

Valentine’s day was looming again and Candace resisted the temptation to rip the month of February from the calendar hanging on her kitchen wall.

She needed no reminder of the celebration. For so many, it heralded a beginning, a step into the future with a love that they were certain would last a lifetime.

For her, it had been both the beginning and the end. Mitch had proposed on that long ago Valentine’s Day. He’d taken her dancing that night. He’d danced her around a room filled with uniformed Marines and as they watched on he’d dropped to his knees in the middle of the dance floor and proposed. They’d all cheered as Candace had given him her answer.

The sad-faced pastor and Lieutenent Colonel Brian Henderson had arrived at her door on February 14th almost a year ago.  Her Mitch wouldn’t be returning from Afghanistan. What followed was now etched forever in her memory. The hushed voices of their friends as they’d rallied around her to offer their understanding support and comfort. The wives who had hurriedly blessed their own lives, grateful that their own men were safe, for now.

Candace had searched everywhere for comfort. The inside of a bottle gave her only a temporary respite from the agony of his absence.

She and her Mitch had refused to discuss the possibility of him dying in the service of his country. That knowledge hovered unspoken on the peripheral of their lives. Giving it life was unthinkable. The future unimaginable without the enduring love they’d shared for almost fifteen precious years.

They’d already mourned and accepted the fact that they couldn’t have children of their own. Mitch had been eager to explore all the other avenues now available to childless couples. It had been her choice to remain childless. For her, Mitch would be the only love she’d ever need in her life. Her decision came back to haunt her now in the desperate solitude of her days and the eternal emptiness of her nights.

The new future danced in her nightmares. She’d stopped drinking when even the oblivion of alcohol had handed her no solace.

There had been no coffin proudly draped with their countries flag. No headstone to dignify his final resting place. A plaque on a wall was all that signified his passing. He was listed M.I.A and presumed dead along with two others from the Seal team he’d led with such utter devotion.

The bodies of his two team members had finally been located and identified. Candace had attended their funerals and wept along with their wives.

After shutting herself away for many months and drawing the increasing concern of her friends she’d finally begun to see a counselor. Yet as much as she’d understood the words he was saying, as much as her intelligence had accepted the innate wisdom of those words, she’d still steadfastly refused to accept the finality of Mitch’s death. How could he be gone when she could still hear his laughter? And on the long nights, as she lay in the darkness she’d smell the scent of his favorite aftershave waft through the room.

She’d reach for him in the darkness and moan his name, then cry for hours at the empty futility of her longing.

Candace dragged her mind back to the present. The sound of her cell phone had interrupted her thoughts several times in the past two days. She’d ignored the calls. Tomorrow was the anniversary.  She knew it would be folks ringing to check on her and offer up their kindness and willingness to help her in any way they could.  She’d hidden away from the repeated knocks on the front door that had been increasing in frequency. She couldn’t deal with the pats on the shoulder and the looks of sadness. Not now. Maybe not ever.

A car pulled up out front and a young Marine slid an envelope under the front door. Her hands shook as she picked it up, it was from the office of Lietenant Colonel Henderson and marked as extremely urgent.

Candace couldn’t bring herself to open it. She knew what it would be. This explained all the calls and the attempts to make contact. It could only be the acknowledgement that Mitch’s body had finally been recovered. Opening that envelope would leave her no choice at all but to believe he was gone.

It must wait till after Valentine’s Day tomorrow.  She gave herself permission to have this one last chance of disbelieving.

Candace sat on the sofa in the gathering darkness, she leaned her head back, closed her eyes and began humming Shall we Dance from the King and I. That was the marvelous music that Mitch had arranged to be played on the happiness fuelled Valentine’s night when he had proposed.

The memories swept her away for hours and she welcomed all of them. The day was beginning to dawn as she fell into a troubled sleep.  Today would be the final day before she was forced by facts to move on with her life.

Candace jumped with shock at the sound of someone pounding on the front door. She flicked a glimpse at her watch, “Jesus!  Hold on. Do you know it’s four o’clock in the morning!” She threw on her bathrobe and hurried across to the windows and pulled back the curtains. A base staff car with flags flying waited outside the house. “What the hell?”

Candace opened the door. The uniformed man stood alone in the semi-darkness. “Yes, Marine?”

“Candy.”

“That isn’t funny.”

“Candy, honey, it’s me.”

Nobody ever called her Candy … only … “Oh my God! Oh my God! Mitch?”

The man stepped into the light shining on the porch from the sitting room.

Mitch stood there holding himself erect with the aid of two canes.

“Darling, oh my darling, I knew it. I knew it. Hold me close before I believe that I’m dreaming again.”

The man leaned his walking aids against the wall and held out his arms. “It will be a little while before we can go dancing again, honey.”

Candy heard the hesitation. “Mitch, my dearest love. We now have forever to practice.”

All the explanations and questions could wait.

Their arms enfolded each other and they cried together in the joy of reunion.

Valentine’s day had now become their new beginning.

***

Valentine’s night. Five-years later.

Mitch Avery swept a bow to his wife and gave her his perpetually cheeky grin. “Shall we dance, m’lady?”

He held her in his arms and they moved in perfect unison around the dance-floor.

The poker faced Marines watching on cleared their throats as tears threatened, then they began to cheer.

Delighted whoops of joy from their two adopted six-year-old sons rang out as they ran across the dance-floor and threw themselves into the loving arms of their parents.

Candace had finally acknowledged that she and Mitch had more than enough love to share.

The future waited.

They walked forward as a family to greet it.

#

I have a further treat for you all. For those that know and Love “The King and I” Here is the original clip of ‘Shall we Dance” For those who may have never seen it I envy you the new experience.

 

 

 

 

“The Comfort of Silence” #New #ShortStory #RRBC #Anthology @pursoot

silence confuscious

Hello and welcome. I have added one more story to my new anthology a work-in-progress. This is the last one I’ll share here until the book is released.  Thank you for joining me.

The Comfort of Silence

By

Suzanne Burke

From my upcoming anthology

“Closure”

 

Ellie sat out on the back deck and breathed in the comfort of silence.

Grant, her husband of ten-years had finally fallen into drunken unconsciousness around an hour earlier, and she’d left him laying on the floor in the pool of vomit that the last bourbon had created.

The days were long gone when she’d struggled and strained to drag his limp carcass into the bedroom. She’d even stopped placing a sofa cushion under his head and leaving a bucket beside him.

It was winter now and starkly beautiful sitting under that diamond strewn canopy. She shivered a little and snuggled down deeper into her quilted jacket. She smiled even as she trembled, knowing how cold his inert form would get laying there on the tiled living room floor.  She’d turned off the air-conditioned warmth everywhere in the house but her own bedroom. A woman has gotta conserve electricity when she can. That thought caused her to laugh out loud in the solitude, she enjoyed that rare sensation and laughed again.

Her coffee had grown cold and Ellie craved another, she stood and stretched languidly before heading inside to the kitchen.

She cast a brief glance at Grant’s now snoring body. He’d curled into the fetal position to ward off the cold. She shrugged and flicked on the recessed lighting above the kitchen island, then busied herself making another pot of coffee.

She craved warmth now and placed the coffee and some Oreos onto a tray and stepped over her husband on the way into the welcoming warmth of her bedroom.

There had been a time as recently as three years back when she’d deadlocked that door and placed barricades against it to keep the violent monster she’d married at bay.

It had taken her the intervening three years of hard soul searching to reach her decision.

Putting it into action was now delivering her a measure of peace.

The few friends she’d managed to keep isolated from the stench of her home life had commented on the change in her. When asked for the reason behind it she’d laughed it off as ‘just taking some me time.’

And she had.

She’d begun meditating and working out a few times every day, to assist in keeping her new resolve on track. She was reaping the benefits tenfold three years in.

It had taken Grant coming at her again with his filthy accusatory mouth and raised fists to at last fuel and light her new ignition switch. Her swift retaliation stunned him into shock and the kick to his abdomen felled him. She savored the sweet vindictive taste of revenge as he lay on the floor in a whining sniveling heap. Another savage kick to his gut stopped the sniveling. That was the sweet start of the solitude.

From a woman who had insisted on cooking any meal he asked for, at any time of the day or night, she’d become his keeper and fed him once in the morning. He’d help his drunken self to the rest if he could make it as far as the kitchen.

Ellie had carefully rearranged all the furnishings to create barriers between every room that a drunk would find difficult if not impossible to navigate.

She had no one but the delivery guy from the local bottle-shop knocking on this door. Nobody to raise an eyebrow at her new version of ‘home beautiful’. It had been another defining moment to be noted and reread in her diary at night for visual confirmation of her latest achievement.

Ellie reached for her coffee, munched on a few Oreos and switched off the lamp.

She calculated around five hours of downtime before the man outside her sanctuary would begin to awaken.

Ellie had at last begun looking forward to her days.

***

The sound of his whining voice awakened her. There was a tentative tap on the door. “Ellie, you in there?”

“What do you want?”

“I just wanted to be sure you’re here.”

“Well, I am. I’ll be there to fix you some food shortly.”

“Shortly? What the fu …”

What did you say?

Silence greeted her question, she repeated it. “Well?”

“I’ll, uh, I’ll see you, um, shortly.”

Ellie didn’t bother to comment further. She showered in her en-suite and took her time dressing. The stench in the living room made her head across and throw the windows wide, ignoring the cold wind that swept in.

She filled a bucket with disinfectant, grabbed the mop and placed both down in front of the man. He was sitting hunched over, still wearing the soiled clothing he’d passed out in.

“I’m not preparing food in this stench. I’ll feed both of us after you clean up your own disgusting mess.”

“I’m sorry, Ellie.”

“Yes, I believe you actually are. What else are you sorry for, Grant?”

The blank look that question created on his face didn’t serve to elevate Ellie’s mood.

“You ask me that every day. And every day I tell you I don’t know. Why the fuck do you keep asking?”

“I’ll keep asking that question until I hear the right answer.”

“But…”

“No, that isn’t it.”

Ellie sniffed at the air and gave him a pointed glare.

“Okay. I got this.”

“Don’t take too long. I’m craving my morning coffee.”

It had taken an hour for the room to begin to smell like the towering pines outside again.

“Ah, that’s much better. Grant, you need to shower and change those filthy clothes. Place them in the washing machine on the longest cycle.”

“I’m hungry.”

“The sooner you act the sooner you eat. Simple isn’t it?”

He muttered something she didn’t catch and went to do as she’d said.

Ellie closed the windows and ramped the heat up to a comfortable temperature.

She was seated on the large sofa drinking her coffee when he re-entered the room. She looked up at his freshly washed and shaved face and for one bitter-sweet moment, she caught a shimmer of the man she’d been so utterly in love with for as long as it took for the fear to kill it.

“Can we eat now?”

I don’t break my promises. What do you feel like?”

“Can we have pancakes?”

“Yes, that’s doable. Sweet or savory?”

“A stack with maple syrup?”

“It’ll be ready soon.”

“Did my delivery arrive yesterday?”

Ellie called “Yes.” from the kitchen.

She heard him shuffle across to the bar, a tinkle of ice and his grunt of satisfaction told her he’d just started on his binge for today. She checked her watch. 7 a.m was early even for him.

The pancake stack she placed in front of him sat cold and uneaten as the booze took back control.

Her diary was added to with the date and time he began and finally stopped drinking for any given day. She flicked back through several years worth and shuddered. His last 90-day rehab had only been three and a half years earlier.

It was just another 3-month break in the cycle. She craved for and enjoyed those breaks. They’d managed to help her hold on to her sanity for a little longer. He’d lasted exactly twelve days at home and every promise made during those sweet twelve-days was shattered as he beat her again night after night.

Ellie had begun planning today from that last night. The paramedics had managed to get her to the hospital in time to save herself, but their unborn child had died at 20 weeks with no chance to begin his tiny life.

If their little boy had lived he’d be three-years-old today.

She watched Grant slump further down into the sofa. His unsmoked cigarette still burning away in the ashtray.

Ellie checked the hour, well satisfied. It was only lunch-time and he was already nodding off to sleep. She knew well that he’d stay that way for two or so hours then he’d wake up and finish his first bottle of bourbon of the day.

It was time.

Ellie pulled the suitcases from under her bed, checked the contents again and carried them out through the mudroom and into the garage. Her other belongings had been loaded into the trunk and the back seat of her new SUV over a period of days. The suitcases fit perfectly on the top layer.

The refrigerator was emptied and switched off and she carried everything out front for the trash collectors to collect later this afternoon.

Ellie began calling to confirm again the arrangements she’d made.

The power would be disconnected at 5.00pm.

All internet services had been permanently closed.

She’d already packed his cell-phone. There was no longer a landline. He had no available contact with the world outside the stupor he lived in.

Their nearest neighbor was a ten-mile walk through rugged walkways to get to, without the car she now owned and would have in her possession.

Grant had been so acquiescent to her requests to place his drunken signature on any documents she’d handed him. Ellie had paced them carefully. The house had been signed over giving her sole ownership months ago now. The real-estate agent she’d hired would be placing the ‘For Sale’ sign up early this evening. She’d given her broker signed consent to have Grant evicted if he was still in residence when the property sold.

Grant had made her a signatory on his only bank account. The balance had made her smile. One hundred-thousand-dollars had been withdrawn slowly and she’d carefully spread it over several offshore accounts.

She placed another call to Grant’s alcohol supplier and canceled all further deliveries.

The sound of Grant belching into wakefulness had her return to the living room.

She watched him suck in the alcohol and surprised him when she held out a glass filled with ice. “I’ll join you.”

“Whoa, really? You! Have a drink? What are we celebrating?”

“A birthday.”

“Anyone I know.”

“You robbed yourself of the right to know him.” Ellie threw the drink back and stood looking down at him. “What are you sorry for, Grant? Last chance to answer?”

His expression registered nothing.

Ellie headed outside without a backward glance. She made one stop on her way out of town.

Every diary she’d ever owned had been copied. Her solicitor had been instructed to hand her written statement and all the proof of abuse over to the police in the event anything should happen to her.

She pointed the SUV east, hit the button on the playlist and sang her happy heart out on the journey towards a new tomorrow.

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