Friday, September 30, 2016

Damned If He Does by Marcella Burnard



Damned If He Does
Marcella Burnard


Genre: Light Paranormal


Date of Publication: 7/19/2016


ISBN: 978-0-9977244-0-0
ASIN: B01HR5R2DI


Number of pages: 333
Word Count: 98k


Cover Artist: Danielle Fine

Book Description:
Rejected by heaven, twisted by hell, what’s a damned dead man to do when he stumbles upon a life and love worth fighting for?

Though damned for his earthly sins, Darsorin Incarri likes being an incubus. Prowling women’s dreams to siphon off their sexual energy for Satan's consumption has its perks: an array of infernal power and a modicum of freedom. Sure, Ole Scratch holds Dar’s soul in thrall, and Dar has to spend a few hours recharging in Hell every day, but it could be much worse. All he has to do is hold up his end of his damnation contract – five women seduced, satisfied and siphoned per night for eternity. So when he encounters gorgeous, bright, and funny Fiona Renee, it’s business as usual. Deploy the infernal charm and rack up another score. Except it doesn’t work. She’s immune. He has to find out what’s gone wrong or face Lucifer's wrath.

Fiona Renee has the life she’d always wanted: a career, a home, a cat with a bad attitude, and peace. Fiona’s dated. Had boyfriends. And hated every minute of it. She’s reconciled to being lonely. So when a man shows up in her bedroom in the middle of the night demanding to know why her dreams turn to nightmares every time he tries to seduce her from within them, Fiona winds up negotiating a contract with a demon that allows him access to her life. She never anticipated that it would also give him access to her heart. If she's going to fall in love at all, something she never thought would happen, shouldn’t it be with someone who’s alive? If Fiona wants to hang on to Darsorin, she has to find his true name—the one he’d been given at his birth over a thousand years ago. But Satan, himself, stands in her way. Even if Fiona can dodge Lucifer, she and Darsorin have to face the question neither of them can answer: What happens to a dead man if you manage to wrest his soul from the Devil?

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The problem with being damned was that no one would meet your eye.
Darsorin Incarri squared his shoulders and glanced into the faces of the people passing him on the sidewalk. They'd look one another in the eye. Smile. Say, 'good morning.' But for someone whose soul had been claimed by the Devil? Nothing.
People would try. There’d be a split second of eye contact, then, as if the varied torments of Hell were somehow reflected in his eyes, their gazes would run away. Every time.
Shivering in the May sunshine, he shoved his clenched fists into the pockets of his black leather jacket. A single crumb of human warmth that wasn't infernally compelled, surely that shouldn’t be too much to ask. Even for a damned soul.
He pushed through the door of a tiny drug store around the corner from his office and trudged to the pharmacy in the back.
“May I help you?” The pharmacist wore her strawberry blonde hair pulled into a swinging ponytail. Her name tag said ‘Fiona.’ Glasses, thick jade frames and barely-there lenses, heightened the olive of her eyes and magnified the smoky eyeliner and shadow she wore. Lush, full lips, painted clear pink smiled at him.
She met his gaze firmly.
No flinching.
No hint of nervous energy.
He pulled in a slow breath. The woman of his dreams–dreams he didn’t know he had, because Hell has a way of grinding those right out of a damned soul–and here he was picking up itch cream for his boss.
“Prescription for Louis Sieffer.”
She turned away to leaf through the white prescription bags before turning back armed with one of them. “Here we go. Have you used this medication before?”
Her white coat washed out her pale complexion, but the lavender silk collar of her blouse, peeking from beneath the coat, caught his imagination. The silk must be worshipping the curves her abomination of a coat all but eradicated.
He sucked a breath in between clenched teeth as his body hardened. Game on. Another soul to seduce for Ole Scratch.
Without conscious thought, he hit her with sex magic. Marking her. Warning off rivals, and maybe, tipping her off, too, so they could both revel in the anticipation. Lust spiked all around him in the cramped, back corner of the drug store where three other women and one man, thin enough to blow away in a breeze, perched on hard plastic chairs, waiting for their prescriptions. He breathed it in, tasting, confused. None of it seemed to emanate from the young woman he held in his predatory crosshairs. She radiated friendly warmth, not insatiable desire like the rest of the females within ten feet of him–like she should.
He latched onto the desire surging around him. Three women. Three separate threads of want. All for the taking. Their want fed him, spilling into the empty space where his forfeited soul should have been. While he wanted the pharmacist, he’d been presented with a buffet of feminine sexual drive, he sampled the offerings. Longing was heady, addicting stuff. The unfulfilled yearning plunked into the dark well of him, tantalizing him with the sensation that he could be filled up, that he could feel almost human again. Briefly.
He smiled and sucked harder on the women’s dissatisfaction and burgeoning appetite.
“Mr. Sieffer? Sir, have you used this medication before?” the pharmacist repeated, her voice clear and alluring as a shot of the smoothest whiskey.
“For eternity,” he said. Why wasn’t she inarticulate with need?
Her smile fell and she leaned closer, lowering her voice. Captivated, he mirrored her until he could have pretended to lose his balance and have their lips meet over the middle of the counter. He caught the faintest hint of perfume. Rose and jasmine. Hunger he hadn’t experienced in centuries spiked his blood–different from his soul-bound compulsion to service as many women as possible in the name of Hell. This delectable morsel kindled the lecherous nature that had damned him in the first place. He could consume her. His mouth watered. He would.
Drunk with wanting her, he downed another shot of the unrequited desire he’d tapped from the other women.
“Certain STDs can be difficult to control, but this ointment should give you some relief from the pain and itch . . .”
Sympathy, cool, blessed sympathy, smacked him in the face like a dead fish. What she’d said–what she thought–registered. He jerked upright.
“It’s not for me!” he said. “I’m picking this up for a–friend.”
Her pink lips twitched.
Adorable. Kissable. Bitable.
“Believe me,” he said, vitally aware that his voice had dropped just like every ounce of blood in his body had. “This is better than the snake oil and wormwood he’s been using for the past thousand years.”
Oh, that didn’t sound weird. Or like he had a gay lover. He closed his eyes. Smooth, Incubus. Real smooth. What the hell had happened to his ironclad contract that assured he’d always be supernaturally sexy? Every woman’s dream?

About the Author:

Marcella Burnard graduated from Cornish College of the Arts with a degree in acting. She writes science fiction romance for Berkley Sensation. Her first book, Enemy Within won the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice award for Best Futuristic of 2010. The second book in the series, Enemy Games, released on May 3, 2011. An erotica novella, Enemy Mine, set in the same world as the novels was released as an e-special edition by Berkley in April 2012. Emissary, a sword and sorcery short story released in the two volume Thunder on the Battlefield Anthology in the second half of 2013. Nightmare Ink, an Urban Fantasy novel from Intermix came out in April of 2014 and the second in that Living Ink series, Bound by Ink, came out in November 2014. Damned If He Does, a light paranormal romance came out in July 2016.

She lives aboard a sailboat in Seattle where she and her husband are outnumbered by cats.


Twitter: @marcellaburnard

Instagram: @marcellaburnard


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3 copies of Damned If He Does

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

HOLLOW by Karlee Winters ♥ Cover Reveal

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Title: Hollow
Author: Karlee Winters
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Cover Design: Pink Ink Designs
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Synopsis
Things aren’t always what they seem… To outsiders, Ashlynn Summers has it all: she’s the star of her own TV cooking show, respected by her community, and a devoted wife. Until she discovers something that shakes her rock-solid world. Now, all she wants is to focus on getting her life back on track. Volunteering at a homeless shelter renews her sense of purpose, but when she meets the insolent Luke Brault, Ashlynn can’t help but think there’s more to him than meets the eye. Although Luke keeps to himself, his daughter is his sole priority. Guilt surrounding his single father status has eaten away at him, leaving a gaping hole. He and Ashlynn become friends, yet Luke fears his past will destroy the bond they’ve created. When they discover their pasts are intertwined and unimaginable secrets are revealed, Ashlynn and Luke find themselves on shaky ground in the aftermath. Suddenly, building something solid on a hollow foundation seems impossible. Can they find a way to repair the damage of the past, or is it too heavy for them to bear?
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Excerpt
“The video’s gone viral.” I peered at my assistant, Kiki, from behind my coffee mug. Her dark brown eyes widened, darting nervously between me and her tablet as technicians, gaffers, and interns filtered in through the studio. “I thought you said yesterday it wasn’t that bad,” I whispered as I forced a smile and waved at Corrine, my make-up artist as she walked in. “I-I know, and it wasn’t. At first. But I checked again this morning and your video’s had eleven million views over the past twenty-four hours.” I sucked in a sharp breath. I was used to being in the public eye, having every little move I made scrutinized by strangers who felt entitled to judge me. Ever since the launch of my cooking show, From Ashes, where I showed viewers how to make gourmet meals out of scraps and leftovers, I’d learned that everyone is a critic and those critics are a lot braver behind a computer screen where their fingers do the talking. “Has Steve seen it yet?” She bit down on her bottom lip and worried it between her teeth. “I don’t know. His door’s been closed all morning.” As if on cue, Steve’s door swung open and he stepped out of his office, clapping his hands together. “All right, people, listen up! I’ve got stuff I need to get done, so let’s get this shoot going. Where’s my star of the show?” His eyes roamed around the room until he spotted me. “There she is!” He started moving toward me, but stopped mid-stride when he realized no one was moving because their eyes were glued to their phones. “I said move it, people! I’m not paying you to stand around.” Everyone immediately jumped into action, bustling around the studio to prepare for my segment. Steve approached me and placed a hand on my shoulder. “Hey Ash, let’s grab lunch after we wrap this up, okay?” I nodded and smiled brightly at my boss, despite feeling like I was agreeing to walk into the lion’s den. It took three hours to film the thirty-minute segment, and by the time we finished, I was more than ready to leave. Maybe I was just being paranoid, but I swore every time someone picked up their phone, they were watching me lose my shit on camera. I tried not to think about it. I tried to remain focused. I wanted to believe that it was all in my head. I’d worked with a majority of these people for the past three years; surely that meant they were my friends. But then I remembered I was in Los Angeles, a place where your friends are the ones to push you down a flight of stairs before asking if you need help up. “You all set?” Steve asked, clapping me on the back. “Yeah, let me just grab my purse.” We made our way outside the studio, passing by Sharla, one of the newest interns, on the way. Steve winked at her and she blushed. I smiled politely, pretending to ignore the fact that my forty-two- year-old boss was watching her nineteen-year-old ass walk away. “Damn,” he mumbled as he pulled out his car keys and unlocked the doors to his brand new Jag. “The things I could do to that ass.” “I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that.” “Probably best. That way you have plausible deniability for my next sexual harassment complaint.” “I don’t know which is worse, the fact that you’re expecting another complaint, or that even knowing what will happen, you still plan to make a move on her. I’m surprised you even still have a job at this point.” We slid into the car and bucked our seatbelts. Steve pulled down his sun visor and smiled at his reflection before pulling out of the parking lot. “They’re not going to fire me. I’m the best producer this network’s seen. Besides, Karen and I have a deal. She keeps the execs off my back, and in exchange, I dust off the cobwebs from her pussy a couple times a year. She may not be as young as I’d like, but the things she can do with that mouth—” “Oh, God, stop,” I groaned, shaking my head. “Let’s just end this conversation before it goes any further. You’re my boss and producer.” “For a TV show. There’s plenty of sex on TV.” “Yes, but I talk about cooking. The only thing that ends up naked is the chicken.” He laughed and merged onto the freeway which was congested with cars. The sky was painted a dusty orange color as thin beams of sunlight attempted to pierce through the smog. Giant billboards loomed off to the side, reminding drivers that physical perfection is just a scalpel and a phone call away, and right beside it was a board with the number to call for when you need to sue because perfection didn’t turn out like you thought it would. We arrived at my favorite lunch spot, a small Korean BBQ place hidden in the back of a nearly deserted strip-mall. The hostess showed us to a table in the corner and turned the grill on that sat in the center of the table. A few minutes later, our server brought out a tray full of side dishes for us to try alongside slabs of raw meat. “Ashlynn.” He grabbed a slice of beef and placed it on the grill, using his chopstick to poke at it until it laid flat. “So, the reason I asked you to lunch is because I actually have to talk to you about something.” I didn’t say anything, already knowing what the “something” was. “Look, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the network execs saw the video,” he continued. “And now they’re worried about your mental state.” “My mental state is fine.” “They’re not convinced. They’re worried that your outburst was just the tip of the iceberg.” I sighed and rolled a piece of meat with some lettuce. “Steve, you know me. You know I’m not crazy.” “Yes, but I can’t deny that what I saw was a bit troublesome.” “I’m not crazy,” I repeated. “You were running around the hotel lobby, holding a butcher’s knife, threatening to carve his heart out and feed it to the homeless.” “Yeah, I was pissed. I’m still pissed. When you go out to dinner and find your husband of six years having an affair with your best friend, you’re gonna be pissed.” Two days before, I’d agreed to meet my friend Staci for dinner at a new hotspot in Santa Monica because the chef and I had gone to culinary school together. We decided to grab ice cream before parting ways, and that’s when I saw it. Right across the street was my husband, Ben, with his tongue shoved down the throat of my best friend. Their hands sloppily grabbed and groped each other, as if they were sixteen-year-old kids, desperate to finish their make-out session before curfew. He was supposed to be working late at the office. He was supposed to be loyal. He was supposed to be mine. It was a strange sensation feeling betrayal that deep. I’d always imagined that all my emotions would hit at once, sweeping over me like a tidal wave. But it didn’t happen like that. Rather, it started at my feet, as if that’s the only place where shock couldn’t get to quickly enough to numb them. Tiny little pin pricks of agitation, crawling along the nerves, slowly coiling up my ankles, along my calves, wrapping around my knees until they buckled. By then, the shock was beginning to thin, and a solid mass of pain snaked through my intestines, squeezing my stomach with a vice-like grip until I was sure I was going to pass out. The pain curdled as it seeped through my ribs, poisoning my heart until it was black, transforming from pain into something much viler: fury. Anger took my brain hostage, twisting every thought until I was no longer in control of myself. I was simply a marionette, and resentment held the strings. How dare he. How dare she. I stared at my left hand, the gaudy two-carat emerald-cut diamond glinting beneath the bright florescent lights. Mocking me. Taunting me. Ridiculing me until all I wanted to do was rip it off my finger and use it to serrate his heart the way he’d eviscerated mine. I watched them on the sidewalk for a couple minutes, before they greeted the doorman like an old friend and stepped through the revolving doors of the Larkspur Hotel - a place he’d once told me was too cheesy for someone like me when I’d asked to spend our anniversary there. I realized then that he hadn’t wanted to take me there because it was theirs. He didn’t want to tarnish the memories of his affair with those of his wife. “He says they’re in love,” I scoffed, taking an angry bite of my food. “Sixteen months, that’s how long this has been going on behind my back, and now he wants a divorce so he can be with her.” “I’m really sorry, Ash,” Steve said placing his hand over mine. “I know how much they meant to you.” “Hilary was my maid-of-honor at our wedding. I’ve known her since we were twelve. I was in the Burger King bathroom with her when she got her first period, and I spent an entire weekend watching The Notebook after Ken Carlson dumped her right after she gave him her virginity. We were supposed to get pregnant together and raise our families next door to each other so that our kids could be best friends…We…” My voice cracked and I stopped to let out a shaky breath. Not wanting to risk another viral video, I cleared my throat and took a sip of water. “Sorry.” “Look, I know you’re going through a rough time, so maybe it’s a good thing that the network wants you to take some time off.” My eyes cut to his and my whole body stiffened. “I’m sorry?” His shoulders slumped as he let out a sigh. “The network execs think maybe you need to take some time off the show. You know, just until things settle down.” “Some time…” I said slowly, letting the bitter taste of each syllable slide off my tongue. “And how long exactly is some time?” “I’m not sure. They didn’t specify.” “Are you fucking kidding me with this Steve?” “I’m afraid not. They’re worried about the bad press.” “Isn’t that why we have a public relations specialist? Besides, I thought all press was good press.” “Pretty sure that only works if you’re a washed-up movie star looking for attention. Your show is about bringing families together with food. How do you expect us to keep airing it after this?” He plucked his phone from his pocket and typed something in before turning it towards me. Images of me standing in the hotel lobby, wielding a large butcher’s knife in my hand popped up. My mocha colored hair was no longer hanging neatly in loose waves, but rather, flying recklessly around my face as my lips pulled back in a snarl. My usually pale green eyes looked wild. Unhinged. Destroyed. “You can see why the execs are a bit worried,” he continued as he scrolled through various photos. “Okay, I get it, you can put it away now,” I replied, waving him off. “Isn’t there something you can do? Talk to Karen. Surely you can think of a way to get her to agree to keep me on…” “Ash—” “Please,” I begged. “This show is everything to me. I just lost my husband and my best friend, and because we didn’t have a prenup, I’ll probably lose half of everything else I own. Don’t take my show away from me, too.” He sighed and leaned back in his seat. “Okay. Just sit tight and lay low. I’m not promising anything, but I’ll see what I can do.”
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About The Author
  Karlee Winters is a romance writer living beneath the hot Arizona sun with her husband and their cat, Kaylie. She devotes her days to working, and her nights writing, allowing the characters in her head to come to life. When not working or writing, she can be found reading, binge-watching Netflix, or playing video games. A romantic at heart, she has a love for stories, and all things ending in happily ever after. Karlee loves to meet new people. Stop by and say hello!  
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Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter by C.A. Verstraete



The Colors of Lizzie Borden’s Life

By Christine (C.A.) Verstraete
Thanks for letting me visit your blog. I thought about the importance of color after seeing a post on Facebook talking about color schemes in films. It’s not something you think of right away, but like the other senses, seeing color can greatly influence our mood and how we view things.
We tend to associate certain colors with certain feelings—yellow is cheery, red can be violent or bright, blue can be soothing, etc. Dark colors generally are linked to darker moods and events. I thought I’d include a few examples of the possible colors in Lizzie’s life here with short excerpts from my book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter.
For Lizzie Borden, both in real life and in the book, color—or the lack of it—had to have a big impact on her life and mood, especially when she was on trial for allegedly killing her father, Andrew Borden, and her stepmother, Abby Durfee Borden on August 4, 1892.
The color of that hot August morning was, of course, red. Blood red.

Lizzie gazed about the room in alarm. The tips of Father’s slippers peeking out from beneath the bed also glistened with the same viscous red liquid. All that blood! What happened here? What happened?—From Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter

Once she went to trial in June, 1893, Lizzie must have felt a sense of depression or melancholy as it was called then, along with a feeling of loss, dejection, and of course, fear for the future. She wore black to the trial, fitting for someone in mourning; fitting for someone who felt their life might soon be over –literally. If found guilty, she would’ve been sent to the gallows.

And of course, once you add the supernatural elements of zombies, you have a whole new set of feelings to consider. In this case, it too, is a lack of color, except for the colors of death.

Lizzie took in its gray body covered in black holes, peeling hunks of dead skin hanging like rotted limbs dangling from a tree, and pockets of black gook oozing out of its body cavity.—From Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter

It’s enough to make anyone an emotional wreck, but as in real life, at least in public, Lizzie held her back straight and her head high. Not once, except for one fainting spell, did she show any emotion or feelings about her plight, the murders, or the trial. But inside, all was dark; black.

She decided not to dwell on that further lest she fall deeper into the black hole of melancholy beckoning her.—From Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter

In one portion of the book, I hinted at Lizzie’s mood during the trial, especially when she sees her sometime friend and companion John talking with a pretty and fashionable young woman dressed in bright colors compared to her own dowdy, dreary mourning colors. Add to that the newspapers calling her a “plain, old maid” and who wouldn’t feel terrible?

His companion’s neatly coifed hair and lovely features, along with the fashionable cut of her soft mauve gown, only made Lizzie feel worse. She stared at the drab charcoal of her plain gown, feeling ugly and much older than her years.—From Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter

Whether she was indeed guilty as some think, Lizzie’s life—and mood—likely improved vastly once she heard the words “not guilty.” Even if she was still considered a pariah, for whatever reason, Lizzie chose to remain in her hometown, even venturing out occasionally for shopping or indulging her love of the theater.
Still; she had a new home—and her life. Color her pink for happy, at least for a while. Like real life, the fictional Lizzie’s life doesn’t turn out quite like she expected. But I’ll leave that for you to discover for yourself.


Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter
C.A. Verstraete


Genre: Horror/Dark Fantasy
Paranormal/ Zombie


Publisher: Imajin Books


Date of Publication:  Sept. 13, 2016


ISBN: 978-1-77223-273-8
ASIN: B01KISRS80

Number of pages: 232

Word Count: 74,000 +

Cover Artist: Ryan Doan

Book Description:  

Every family has its secrets…

One hot August morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden picked up an axe and murdered her father and stepmother. Newspapers claim she did it for the oldest of reasons: family conflicts, jealousy and greed. But what if her parents were already dead? What if Lizzie slaughtered them because they’d become zombies?
Thrust into a horrific world where the walking dead are part of a shocking conspiracy to infect not only Fall River, Massachusetts, but also the world beyond, Lizzie battles to protect her sister, Emma, and her hometown from nightmarish ghouls and the evil forces controlling them.


Chapter One

Q. You saw his face covered with blood?
A. Yes sir.
Q. Did you see his eyeball hanging out?
A. No sir.
Q. Did you see the gashes where his face was laid open?
A. No sir.
—Lizzie Borden at inquest, August 9-11, 1892, Fall River Courtroom

August 4, 1892
Lizzie Borden drained the rest of her tea, set down her cup, and listened to the sound of furniture moving upstairs. My, my, for only ten o’clock in the morning my stepmother is certainly energetic. Housecleaning, already?
THUMP.
For a moment, Lizzie forgot her plans to go shopping downtown. THUMP. There it went again. It sounded like her stepmother was rearranging the whole room. She paused at the bottom stair, her concern growing, when she heard another thump and then, the oddest of sounds—a moan. Uh-oh. What was that? Did she hurt herself?

“Mrs. Borden?” Lizzie called. “Are you all right?”

No answer.
She wondered if her stepmother had taken ill, yet the shuffling, moving, and other unusual noises continued. Lizzie hurried up the stairs and paused outside the partially opened door. The strange moans coming from the room sent a shiver up her back.
Lizzie pushed the door open wider and stared. Mrs. Abby Durfee Borden stood in front of the bureau mirror, clawing at her reflected image. And what a horrid image it was. The sixty-seven-year-old woman’s hair looked like it had never been combed and stuck out like porcupine quills. Her usually spotless housedress appeared wrinkled and torn. Yet, that wasn’t the worst. Dark red spots—Blood, Lizzie’s mind whispered—dotted the floor and streaked the sides of the older woman’s dress and sleeves.
Lizzie gazed about the room in alarm. The tips of Father’s slippers peeking out from beneath the bed also glistened with the same viscous red liquid. All that blood! What happened here? What happened?
She gasped, which got the attention of Mrs. Borden, who jerked her head and growled. Lizzie choked back a cry of alarm. Abby’s square, plain face now appeared twisted and ashen gray. Her eyes, once bright with interest, stared from under a milky covering as if she had cataracts. She resembled a female version of The Portrait of Dorian Gray. Another growl and a moan, and the older woman lunged, arms rigid, her stubby hands held out like claws.
“Mrs. Borden, Abby!” Lizzie yelled and stumbled backward as fast as she could. “Abby, do you hear me?”
Her stepmother shuffled forward, her steps slow but steady. She showed no emotion or sense of recognition. The only utterances she made were those strange low moans.
Lizzie moved back even further, trying to keep some distance between her and Mrs. Borden’s grasping fingers. Then her foot hit something. Lizzie quickly glanced down at the silver hairbrush that had fallen to the floor. Too late, she realized her error.
“No!” Lizzie cried out at the strange feeling of her stepmother’s clammy, cold hand around her wrist. “Abby, what happened? What’s wrong with you?”
Mrs. Borden said nothing and moved in closer. Her mouth opened and closed, revealing bloodstained teeth.
“No! Stay away!” Lizzie yelled. “Stop!”
She didn’t. Instead, Mrs. Borden scratched and clawed at her. Lizzie leaned back, barely escaping the snap of the madwoman’s teeth at her neck.
“Mrs. Bor—Abby! No, no! Stop!”
Lizzie’s slight advantage of a few inches in height offered no protection against her shorter stepmother’s almost demonic and inhuman strength. The older woman bit and snapped like a rabid dog. Lizzie struggled to fight her off, and shoved her away, yet Mrs. Borden attacked again and again, her hands grabbing, her teeth seeking the tender flesh covered by Lizzie’s long, full sleeves.
The two of them grappled and wrestled, bumping into the bedposts and banging into furniture. Lizzie yelped each time her soft flesh hit something hard. She felt her strength wane as the  crazed woman’s gnarled hands clawed at her. Lizzie wondered how much more she could endure.

Lizzie’s cries for help came out hoarse and weak. “Em-Emma!” She tried again. “Help! Help me!” She knew Emma had come in late last night from her trip out of town. But if Emma already woke and went downstairs, will she even hear me?

Lizzie reeled back, her panic growing as her spine pressed against the fireplace. She pushed and fought in an attempt to keep this monster away, yet Mrs. Borden’s ugly face and snapping teeth edged closer and closer.
Then Lizzie spotted it: the worn hatchet Father had left behind after he’d last brought in the newly chopped wood. No, no! Her mind filled with  horror,  but  when  her  stepmother  came  at  her  again,  Lizzie whispered a prayer for forgiveness and grabbed the handle. She lifted the hatchet high overhead and swung as hard as she could. It hit her stepmother’s skull with a sickening thud.
As impossible as it seemed, Mrs. Borden snarled and continued her attack.
Lizzie hit her again, and again, and again. The blows raked her stepmother’s face and scraped deep furrows into tender flesh. The metal hatchet head pounded her stepmother’s shoulders and arms, the bones giving way with sickening crunches. Mrs. Borden’s broken arms dangled, hanging limp and ugly at her sides… and yet, dear God, yet she continued her attack.
With the last bit of her strength, Lizzie raised the hatchet again and brought it down on Mrs. Borden’s head. Only then did her stepmother crumple and fall into a pile at Lizzie’s feet.
It took a few minutes for Lizzie to comprehend the horrible scene. It didn’t seem real, but it was. With a cry, she threw the bloodied hatchet aside. She gagged as the weapon caught in the braided artificial hairpiece hanging from the back of Mrs. Borden’s gore-encrusted scalp.
Retching, Lizzie ran to the other side of the bed, bent over, and vomited into the chamber pot. She crossed the room and leaned against the wall, her shoulders shaking with each heart-rending sob.
Her hands trembled so hard she could barely hold them still, but she managed to cover her eyes in a feeble attempt to block out the carnage. It didn’t stop the horrific images that flashed in her mind, or the many questions. And it certainly did nothing for the soul-crushing guilt that filled her.
Why? she cried. Why? Dear God, what have I done? What have I done?


About the Author:
Christine (C.A.) Verstraete enjoys putting a bit of a “scare” in her writing. He stories have appeared in various anthologies and publications including Mystery Weekly, Happy Homicides 3: Summertime Crime, Siren’s Call Magazine, and more. She also is the author of books on dollhouses and a YA novel, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie.
Her latest novel is Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter.
Learn more at her website, http://cverstraete.com  and her blog, http://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com

Twitter: @caverstraete https://twitter.com/caverstraete
Goodreads:
Tour giveaway
5 Kindle copies Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter by C.A. Verstraete