5 Stars for THE FIBROMANUAL by Ginerva Liptan – BOOK REVIEW – NEW RELEASE 

Photo obtained from http://www.fibromanual.com


Subtitle: A Complete Treatment Guide to Fibromyalgia for You … and Your Doctor.  

Author: Ginerva Liptan, M.D 

Type of Book: Ebook 

Length: 384 pages 

Genre: Non-Fiction – Medical 

Price: $11.99 on Amazon.com 

Release Date: May 3, 2016

Publisher: Ballantine Books – An imprint of Random House www.randomhousebooks.com.   

ISBN: 978-1-101-96720-1 

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

While in medical school, Dr. Ginerva Liptan discovered that she was suffering Fibromyalgia. Of that time, she says: “I finally accepted that I had fibromyalgia. I felt hopeless and helpless. I told myself that it wasn’t fatal – it wasn’t ‘cancer’ – but it still felt like a death sentence.” 

This may sound strange, but I was thrilled when I read the above quote. My first thought was that I couldn’t believe that a medical doctor had ever felt the way I seem to feel every day. My second thought was one of hope. “Okay” I said to myself, “Maybe I’ve finally found the perfect book. Maybe this book will contain less theory and more practical advice for living with this horribly debilitating disease.” 

I love the fact that when the author was diagnosed, her initial response was the same as mine; to read every relevant book she could find and to try each and every treatment option available. 

Ginerva Liptan states that her problems (and her frustration) were compounded by her extreme fatigue and lack of energy. I know EXACTLY what she means since I am currently in the same situation. 

Dr. Genevra Liptan does an amazing job of describing fibromyalgia in terms that anyone can understand. She also addresses the fact that some people and even some doctors do not believe in the existence of fibromyalgia. She also points out that the disbelief is rapidly diminishing due to the overwhelming amount of evidence and extensive scientific testing that has taken place in the past few years that conclusively proves that fibromyalgia is all too real. She points out that: “Even at rest, fibromyalgia muscles show a level of lactic acid you would expect in someone who has run a 5K race.” As well as the fact fibromyalgia sufferers experience constant tension in their muscles and that: “Nonstop muscle tension is equivalent to nonstop exercise. No wonder we’re tired and our muscles hurt.” 

Once Dr. Ginerva Liptan explains exactly what fibromyalgia is and how it affects the lives of those suffering with it, she then dedicates the rest of the book to helping readers create a personalized plan to alleviate and/or control their symptoms. 

The plans are exceptionally detailed and yet easily understandable. 

Why would anyone suffering with fibromyalgia not try her ideas?

The fact that Dr. Liptan is also a fibromyalgia sufferer gives her a unique perspective that most doctors cannot and do not have. Also, it gives readers of the book confidence in her advice because she truly understands how it feels to have fibromyalgia.

She has also created worksheets to fill out as well as information sheets that readers can give to the doctor that they are currently using. 

To take it an extra step further, she has also created a companion website and has included (in the book) links to many different web resources that readers may find helpful. 

As far as I am concerned, this book is now my new bible. I will be following her plans and I will be purchasing a copy of it to give to my family doctor. 

This book deserves 10 stars, but since the highest rating I can give is 5 stars, I rate THE FIBROMANUAL as an enthusiastic 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

For anyone who has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, for anyone who deals with patients who have fibromyalgia or for anyone whose loved one has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia or even for anyone who just wants to expand their knowledge about this disease; this is a MUST BUY, MUST READ book. 

~ I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Photo obtained from http://www.fibromanual.com

In 2011 Dr. Ginerva Liptan founded the first private practice in the United States dedicated exclusively to Fibromyalgia. It is called the Frida Center for Fibromyalgia and is located at Lake Oswego, Oregon. 


Recipient of OHSU Gerlinger Foundation Research Award to support study “Efficacy of myofascial release therapy in reducing symptoms of fibromyalgia.”

5 Intense Stars for WORMWOOD DAWN – EPISODE 4 by Edward Crae – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW 

Title: WORMWOOD DAWN: Episoded Four 

Author: Edward Crae 

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged 

Narrator: Cliff Edwards 

Length: 3 hours and 39 minutes 

Genre: Horror, Science Fiction 

Release Date: May 15, 2016

Publisher: Edward Crae 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️. 

This audiobook is the fourth episode in the Wormwood Dawn Apocalyptic Serial. The first three books were so riveting and so terrifying that I just had to listen to Book Four. 

Once again Edward Crae’s twisted imagination has created a riveting audiobook that will scare the pants off of listeners. 

Imagine struggling to survive in a world that has been basically destroyed and is now populated by mutated people and animals, most of which would not hesitate to kill and eat you on sight. Sounds horrific, right?

Ok. Now add in the fact that a depraved serial killer skinned a friend of yours alive and according to his journal, you are his next intended victim. I know I would be freaking out, that’s for sure. 

At the end of episode three Dan is taken captive by the serial killer and the others are captured by the mercenaries. Basically, they are all in BIG trouble.

This episode (Book 4) of WORMWOOD DAWN begins with Dan awakening to find that he has survived the mercenary attack, only to be abducted by the crazy serial killer. 

Dan needs to find a way to escape before the killer decides to follow up on his threat. 

If he does escape, his next goal will be to find the rest of his small group of survivors. 

This audiobook is INTENSE and is not for the faint of heart. There are some seriously disturbing scenes and ideas which make this audiobook acceptable only for listeners ages 18 and up. 

I LOVED IT! I am definitely a fan and I can’t wait for the next episode to be released.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how awesome and creepy the cover is. Great job! 

I rate this audiobook as 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

* I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author in exchange for an honest review.


Title: WORMWOOD DAWN Episode One

Author: Edward Crae 

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged 

Narrator: Cliff Edwards 

Genre: Horror, Post-Apocalyptic Fiction

Length: 3 hours and 7 minutes 

Release Date: November 2015

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 
* I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review 

This audiobook started out like every typical zombie novel, and initially I was disappointed, BUT that soon changed. THIS IS NOT A ZOMBIE STORY, instead it is something much more unique and in a class of its own. 

I love the fact that the protagonist is a slacker alcoholic who is forced to smarten up in order to survive. 

If you think that “Wormwood Dawn” is a typical post-apocalyptic story, you are very much mistaken. This audiobook is a unique twist on the genre and will grab and hold your attention and leave you wanting more. 

The sound quality of the audiobook could definitely have been better, but I have been assured that the problem has been addressed and that it is much better in the second and third books. I guess I will find out since I definitely intend to listen to more Wormwood audiobooks.

Overall I give WORMWOOD DAWN a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️   


Mishca and Lauren Blitz Banner

Mishca and Lauren: The Complete Collection
by London Miller
Volkov Bratva, #1-3
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Organized Crime

Mishca and Lauren Cover

Purchase: Amazon | Amazon UK |Amazon CA | Amazon AU

Synopsis: Lauren was just a girl looking to make a fresh start in New York City, until she meets the man that will change everything she thought she knew. Spanning over two years, from the very beginning, until the sweet end, delve into the Volkov Bratva world and learn how it all began.

Mishca and Lauren: The Complete Collection contains the first three novels of the Volkov Bratva Series, as well as the companion novella…

In the BeginningIn the Beginning (Volkov Bratva #1)

Twenty-year-old Lauren Thompson left her small town in Michigan to begin a new life in the Big Apple where no one knows her name or the tragedy that had rocked her family fifteen years prior. With new friends and an intriguing new love interest, starting over is easier than she expected…but Mishca Volkov isn’t what he seems. As the son of a Russian Mob boss, he thrives in a world of chaos and fear, earning the title of Bratva Captain through blood and pain.

When the two cross paths, lines blur and passions ignite, bringing them closer than they could ever imagine. Until secrets from the past threaten to tear them apart. Can they fight past their demons…or were they doomed by fate before they ever met.


Until the EndUntil the End (Volkov Bratva #2)

Lauren Thompson
After learning the truth behind her father’s tragic murder, Lauren vowed never to go near another Volkov again, but sometimes matters of the heart are too strong to resist…

Mishca Volkov
As a Captain in the Volkov Bratva, Mishca has pledged his loyalty to the Vory v Zakone, but he soon finds himself at odds with the life he’s always known…

Until the End
When Mishca and Lauren fight to salvage their relationship, new obstacles present themselves, forcing the pair to make drastic choices that either tear them apart or bring them closer together…

The Final HourThe Final Hour (Volkov Bratva, #3)

Three months pass without incident, leading Mishca and Lauren to believe they can finally move on from the past and build a life together…but enemies both old and new lurk in the shadows, waiting for the opportunity to strike.

When a dangerous threat presents itself, Lauren is forced to turn to the one person that would rather see Mishca dead than live happily ever after…she now has to step into a role that demands payment in blood.

Alliances are formed, one side fighting for survival, and the other for retribution.

No one can be trusted.
No one is safe.
War is coming.
…and not everyone will live to see the end of it.

Time Stood StillTime Stood Still (Volkov Bratva, #3.5 Novella)

Can a love born of violence stand the test of time?

Despite a less than ideal start to their marriage, Mishca and Lauren are finally in a place where they do not have to look over their shoulders at every turn. Now that they are in a secure place, it’s time for them to have the one thing Mishca had promised her before they took their vows.

A honeymoon…

Traveling to the sandy beaches of Sardinia, Italy, the couple will explore what brought them together in the first place, instead of the life that constantly threatens to tear them apart.

But as the newly appointed Boss of the Volkov Bratva, is it too late for Mishca to have an even remotely normal life…and is Lauren ready to face another challenge that neither of them saw coming…


ML Teaser 2


More importantly, was the man seated behind the cherry-wood desk. He was in his late fifties from what Mishca had told her, but just by looking at him, she wouldn’t have guessed that. His eyes were a dark gray, his black hair graying at the temples. Upon seeing her, he smiled, standing to his full height, which was just a few inches shorter than Mishca, and came around the desk, extending his hand.

“You must be Lauren,” he said coolly, his accent much thicker than Mishca’s, making Lauren have to concentrate to understand him. “It is nice to finally put a face to the name.”

“Nice to meet you, Mr. Volkov,” she said, taking his hand. He had a firm handshake despite his age, and made quite the imposing sight. Whereas Mishca was lean, he was built like a bull.

“Please,” he said, waving a hand. “There is no need for such formalities, call me Mikhail. I trust you have met my wife, Anya.”

“Yes,” she replied, smiling over at Anya.

“Please have a seat,” Mikhail offered, gesturing out to the comfortable looking wingback chairs that were grouped together near the fireplace. “I must confess,” he went on after they were all seated, “when Mishca told me he was going to bring a girl here, I was astonished. I have never met any of the girls in his life.”

Lauren’s brows shot up as she glanced at Mishca. A muscle ticked in his jaw, but he didn’t comment.

“He must care for you greatly to bring you here.”

Mishca scoffed. “You’re going to scare her off.”

Mikhail’s face split into a grin, his eyes warming. “Nonsense. It is a reasonable assumption, no?”

They broke out into a heated discussion in Russian, snapping back and forth, but while Mishca seemed to be growing angrier, Mikhail only appeared amused.

“Would you care for something to drink, Lauren?” Anya asked, cutting in over them, walking over to an antique whiskey service that held several carafes of dark Amber liquid and a couple bottles of water.

She looked between Mishca and Mikhail, shaking her head. “No, I’m fine. Thank you.”

Mikhail turned his attention to the bay windows as a car drove up. “It looks like your sister is here. Could you escort her in?”

Mishca hesitated, his eyes flickering to Lauren, but he ultimately stood and walked out without glancing back.

“You’ll have to excuse my son,” Mikhail said conversationally, as he accepted his drink from Anya. “Love makes a man blind.”

She was momentarily taken aback by what he was saying. To be honest, she had never thought that they were there in their relationship.

“You don’t think so?” He asked reading her expression. “You are more important to him than you realize.


ML Teaser 1


Mishca Profile Teaser


Lauren Profile Teaser


London Miller

With a degree in Creative Writing, London Miller has turned pen to paper, creating riveting fictional worlds where the bad guys are sometimes the good guys. Her debut novel, In the Beginning, is the first in the Volkov Bratva Series. She currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two puppies, where she drinks far too much Sprite, and spends her nights writing.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter | Amazon Author Page


Mishca & Lauren Collection Giveaway Graphic



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4 Stars for CARING FOR NIGEL by Eileen Murray – BOOK REVIEW


Subtitle: Diary of a Wife Coping With Her Husband’s Dementia 

Author: Eileen Murray

Type of Book: EBook

Length: 73 pages 

Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir, Health, Medical, Dementia 

Release Date: October 8, 2013


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I saw this book on Amazon and when I realized that it was being offered for free, I knew that I had to read it. 

Dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well as many other age-related medical conditions are not receiving the recognition that they deserve here in Canada. Obviously, Scotland is the same. 

The population of the world is rapidly changing. 

As more, and better, medicines are being discovered, people are living longer now than at any other time period in history. 

The Baby Boomer generation has reached retirement age and are beginning to require medical care for diseases and ailments related to aging.

This EBook is a true accounting of one woman’s struggle to accept and to cope with her husband after he is diagnosed at the age of 69 as having dementia. 

For four years following the diagnosis Nigel’s wife, Eileen, kept a diary. This became her ‘safety valve’ – {an outlet for letting off steam}. She wrote this diary for her own purposes. It was not written with the idea of publication in mind. She wrote this as “… an outlet for the daily stresses of caring for Nigel at home, as his mental and physical health slowly deteriorated.” In it she gives a frank and detailed account of the endless disturbed nights, his challenging and erratic behaviour, and the relentless struggle with his incontinence.” 

Readers and potential readers need to know that this book is not a ‘self-help’ book, nor is it a book that will help you to diagnose dementia. 

Now that you are aware of what the book is not, now I will tell you what the book is. CARING FOR NIGEL is a book that will let other people, who are caring for loved ones with dementia, know that they are NOT alone. That simple fact can be quite powerful. Caregivers may recognize themselves in some of Eileen’s descriptions. They can see that it is ok to be mad sometimes and ok to be sad sometimes. 

This book should be read by as many people as possible, not just those currently dealing with dementia. This issue is something that will become increasingly common as the population ages and knowledge is a powerful thing. 

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“I feel quite lonely and can’t help wishing his admission hadn’t been necessary or that I hadn’t been instrumental in it.”

“I hope the Eastfield has a place soon but there seems to be a long waiting list and entry is dependent, unfortunately, on the obituary rate.”

“…if his last years were spent in a well-appointed and peaceful environment like the Eastfield, I would feel that the best was being done for him even if I have to sell the house to finance it. After all, all the possessions we have are due to his very hard work and, as a good caring husband in the past, he deserves the best care.”

To learn more about dementia visit 

 DEMENTIA.com – This site also contains links to worlwide dementia sites. 

5 Stars for WORMWOOD DAWN 2 by Edward Crae – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW


Title: WORMWOOD DAWN: Episode Two

Author: Edward Crae

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: Clifford Edwards

Length: 3 hours and 6 minutes

Genre: Horror, Science Fiction

Release Date:  January 13, 2016

Publisher: Edward Crae

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


This audiobook is a Heart pounding, Pulse raising, Nail biting, goose-bump inducing story of monsters and mayhem with a apocalyptic twist.

I had completely forgotten how much I LOVED the first book in the Wormwood Dawn audiobook serial until I started listening to Book Two.

A few minutes into this audiobook and I was hooked once again. This is NOT a zombie fiction book. This book is Science Fiction/Horror and it is AWESOME. Now I want to kick myself for not listening to this book as soon as I downloaded it. I WILL NOT make that mistake with this series ever again.

Dan and Drew are two regular guys. Well, I guess they are definitely slackers, but they are loveable slackers. In the first book we find out that Dan is an alcoholic and Drew likes his marijuana a bit too much.

But neither of their addictions seem to matter when people around them start turning into rabid psychos.

The two friends hole up at Dan’s house. But, when their cat ends up encased in a cocoon and then emerges as a horrific mutation, the two friends know that something very strange is going on and that the world has changed – and that change is NOT good.

In Book Two, Dan and Drew have gained both knowledge and weapons. They know that they will need to prepare for winter which is fast-approaching.

As they check out the other homes in the area, they make a few discoveries.

They are no longer alone…


The first book in the series had a plethora of production quality issues. Those glitches have been reduced in Book Two and are no longer a factor. This is wonderful since it made the listening experience even better than I expected.

Dan and Drew are not the type of people that you would normally equate with the title of “hero.” But that is exactly what makes them so compelling.

The action never stops in this audiobook and narrator, Clifford Edwards is an absolute pleasure to listen to. It is almost unbelievable that only one person narrates this book because Cliff is just that good. I have listened to hundreds of audiobooks over the years and I cannot remember any other narrator who was able to voice so many different characters with so much variation and still be able to keep the overall story flowing with apparent ease. The narrator deserves 5 Stars all his own.

I have seen some reviews of this audiobook that mention the “echo-y” sound in parts of the story. I thought the use of this “echo-y” technique was perfect. It is used when Dan and Drew are watching and listening to online news reports and it adds authenticity to the story.

The action begins right away and like a car whose gas pedal is stuck, the action is unending. I LOVED IT!

This horror audiobook serial is an absolute MUST LISTEN for all horror fans.

Thankfully I already have Book Three because I don’t just want to listen to it, I NEED TO listen to it right away.

I rate WORMWOOD DAWN: Episode Two as 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ and it has earned every single star.

* I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.




wormwood dawn banner 2



wormwood dawn author edward crae


(Description from Amazon Author Page)

Edward was born in Zanesville, OH, where he did absolutely nothing worthwhile with his life. Having drank himself into a permanent stupor, he finally moved to Indiana. Years and years of alcoholism and drug abuse kept him from exploring his intellectual interests; including astronomy, quantum physics, biology, and weird things like UFOs, mythology, and inter-dimensional or astral travel.

Throughout the years, Ed’s constant binge drinking and pot smoking had polarized his brain into the realm of the deranged. Pill popping aside, he now contemplates battles against massive hordes of undead mutants, and has barricaded himself in his deep woods home; prepared for the inevitable apocalypse.

Having an extensive collection of high powered rifles, Ed constantly stares out his window to catch the first glimpse of the stumbling horde. If and when that happens, he WILL fire the first shot.

Don’t bother talking to Ed. He won’t listen. He’s crazy. Just read the filth that he spews out into MS Word, and be happy. It’s all you’ll ever get.

To learn more about this author visit him online:




wormwood dawn narrator clifford edwards

To learn more about this narrator visit him online:


5 Stars for THE TRUTH ABOUT MUD by Christina L. Rozelle- BOOK REVIEW – MUST READ 


Series: A ‘Mangleblood Rose’ Story

Author: Christina L. Rozelle 

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction

Length: 68 pages

ISBN: 9781505884487 

Publisher: A Spark in the Dark Press 

Cover by: John Gibson www.TheBookDesignGuy.com 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

* I received a free autographed, softcover copy of this book from the author through the Goodreads Giveaway program. 

Thistle and Fane are young as far as trolls go. They are also best friends. 

Thistle wears a medallion necklace that was given to her by her Nan. “Before a stupid crow gobbled her up.” That medallion is Thistle’s most prized possession. 

When a crow swoops down from the sky and steals her precious medallion, Thistle will do anything to get it back – even leave the Clearing and cross the Mangleblood River. 

According to Thistle, “No one had ever crossed Mangleblood River before. At least not that [she] knew of. Because of the name, you know … Bunch of scaredy-trolls and superstitious bloombabies.”

So, Thistle and Fane set out on a quest to retrieve her medallion and what they discover will change their lives … FOREVER. 

I loved this book. At only 68 pages, it is a quick read but there is a whole lot of story packed into its pages. 

Christina L. Rozelle has created a fascinating and richly imaginative world that will draw readers in and make them instant fans of the ‘Mangleblood Rose’ series. 

“The Truth About Mud” has lots of great lines that will appeal to the middle grade reader, such as: “…he laughed so hard he farted and killed a swarm of mosquitos.” These terrific one-liners will also put a smile on the face of adult readers. 

I absolutely cannot wait to read the next book in the series and to sign up for “The Rozelle Army” at http://repute.com/68sS9

I rate this phenomenal middle grade adventure as 5 out of 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

Whether you are a middle grade reader, a young adult or even an adult, I highly recommend this book and I am adding it to my MUST READ list. 

I almost forgot to mention the wonderful cover apart. From the font to the colour palette, to the graphics, it is absolutely stunning. I am very impressed by cover artist John Gibson who can be found at:   www.TheBookDesignGuy.com 


Christina L. Rozelle is a native of Richardson, Texas. She is a writer of dark YA and adult fiction laced with light, doused with horror, tinged with romance and always an adventure. 

Check out this book on the following websites: 



Christina’s Fansite

Sign up for the “Rozelle Army” to be emailed directly about exciting upcoming events and promotions, or when new releases become available. Sign up at: http://republican.com/68sS9 

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“A Fathers Betrayal. A Lover’s revenge. One woman, determined to save them both”
For Lily Frost, love is a double edged sword. She craves it, she needs it, but the asking price for love may be her life.
After her mother’s apparent suicide, Lily receives a terrible warning: leave California or run the risk of death. Afraid for her life, she flees. Her only hope for safety lies with her father, a man who abandoned her when she was five. But while she searches for him, she discovers love and safety in the arms of James Prescott.
James is a man tormented by his mother’s unsolved murder. More than anything he wants to see her killer lifeless, lying in a shallow grave. When Lily enters his life, he realizes that he hasn’t been living. Lily shines for him, a light that finally pierces the darkness. For the first time in years, he feels hope. Their relationship blossoms and Lily discovers that she is worthy of love. However, she soon realizes that the safety she craves and the love she’s found may be short lived.
The past James carries and the life Lily left behind collide, throwing the couple into the path of the murderer. Secrets long buried come to surface and threaten to destroy everything. Will they face their demons together or will they let the past tear them apart?



Julianne Kelsch is an author and freelance writer who picked up the pen after the birth of her second child. A mother of four, she believes words have a special kind of magic all their own. With a word you can open the heart or break the soul; you can breathe life into love or distinguish the final flame. For her, reading is a place to experience worlds unseen and lives never lived; writing is the place to create them. 


Connect with the Author here: 


I sat quietly on the couch for about five minutes, long enough for me to realize that if I sat there alone with nothing but my thoughts, I was going to go crazy. In an effort to distract myself I pulled a book out of Jim’s extensive library and tried to read. I focused on the words, reading them slowly, digesting each one, defining it, seeing how it played in with the paragraph. But my exercise was pointless. My mind kept turning back to James. Where was he now? What was he doing? Had he found the driver? Would he find him? If he did, would he kill him? Worse, would he get himself killed?

The questions bounced around in my head, driving deeper and deeper in to my brain, but the answers wouldn’t follow.

I couldn’t read. I couldn’t even remember the name of the title let alone what had happened in the last paragraph. I dropped the book on the couch and wandered to the window, wrapping my arms tightly around my chest. It was still raining. I could hardly see through the torrential downpour. I wished James was with me, where I knew he was safe, where I felt safe. In this big house all alone, apprehension filled my gut. Was somebody lurking around the next corner, waiting to slaughter me?

As if in line with my thoughts, the door from the garage slammed shut, echoing in the silence. I spun toward the sound, my heart pounding.

“James?” I called.

No answer.

“Jim?” I tried.

Again, no answer.

My throat was suddenly as dry as cotton. I forced myself to swallow. Somebody was there, somebody that didn’t want me to know who they were.

A moment after the door slammed I heard soggy footsteps walk across the floor, toward the living room.

I instinctively backed away, inching toward the small room off the living room that housed the piano. The piano room was dark. I wouldn’t be visible in there.

All the nerve endings in my body were taut. I couldn’t feel my legs but somehow – I didn’t know how – they kept moving. As I slipped quietly toward the piano room a tentative escape plan began forming in my head, slowly emerging through the thoughts of terror.

A moment after I slid into the room I heard the footsteps turn the corner into the living room. They didn’t pause to investigate; it was obvious I wasn’t in there. They just started toward the room where I was hiding.

That was enough for me. Whoever was here knew where I was. Silence was futile at this point. Adrenaline rushed through my veins and I turned and bolted across the room. I would jump through one of the windows to escape. It would hurt, but it probably wouldn’t kill me. I ran toward the window, preparing to launch myself through it.

“Stop!” A male voice cried. I didn’t stop. I jumped.

So did he.

His body slammed against mine, knocking me to the floor. My head cracked against the window sill. I tried to scream but he cupped a hand over my mouth, smothering the scream. “Be quiet,” he hissed in my ear. “I’m not going to hurt you.” He lay on top of me, his chest against my back, a big, sweaty hand covering my mouth, burly arm wrapped around my chest.

It was impossible to breathe with him on top of me. I struggled, fighting for air. He seemed to sense what I was doing and moved his hand long enough for me to take a gasping breath before smothering my voice again.

“Where’s your boyfriend?” he demanded. “Where’s Jim?”

He couldn’t see my face and I couldn’t talk so I shook my head, fighting not to be overwhelmed by fear and panic. He finally let go of my mouth.

“I don’t know,” I gasped. “I don’t know.”

“Why did he leave you here alone? Damn fool.”

“I don’t know,” I whimpered.

“Listen to me,” he hissed. “It’s not safe for any of you, anywhere. Do you understand me? It’s not safe!”

I tried to turn my head, to get a better glimpse of the man, but he shoved my face down into the carpet. “Don’t,” he growled.

I nodded, barely containing my fear.

“You have to get out. Find your boyfriend, find Jim, and get the hell out of here. Do you understand?”

“Yes,” I croaked.

“Good.” He stood, yanking me to my feet. “Don’t turn around,” he ordered. He kept his arms around my chest, pulling me with him through the living room.

“Where are you taking me?” I blurted, not expecting an answer, but hysteria was taking over. I had to have some focus.

His laugh was sinister but mangled. “I’m not taking you anywhere. I’m not the one trying to kill you.” He flipped off the lights in the living room, plunging the place in darkness before letting me go.

I didn’t see him leave the room. It was too dark. But I heard the door slam behind him as he left the way he came.

I groped for the wall, searching in panic for the light switch. I didn’t do well in the dark, not anymore. Too many dark things rose up in the blackness. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I found the switch and flipped it on. The room was empty, as I logically knew it would be, but my emotional state suggested otherwise.

I fell against the wall, my legs too weak to support me anymore, and let my body slide to the floor. I huddled there, knees pulled to my chin, forcing myself to breathe slowly while my bones rattled on.

It was a long time before I managed to pull myself to my feet and drag my limp body to the couch. I needed a phone. I needed to call James, Jim, anybody. I couldn’t find it. I couldn’t remember where it was. After a few minutes I gave up and dropped onto the couch, trying to keep the panic at bay.