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PARANORMAL SHORT STORIES

2010 The cover for The Music of the Night, created by Laura Shinn, is voted Best Book Cover in the Preditors and Editor Poll

Excerpt from the book:

 

And then, abruptly, he was looming over her. The half-mask gleamed a ghostly white in the darkness.

 

"Christine?" His voice, filled with hope, tugged at her heart.

 

She shook her head, her gaze fixed on the mask that covered the right side of his face.  No, it couldn't be. He wasn't real. He didn't exist.

 

He took a step closer, and then he frowned.  "Forgive me, you are not she." 

 

Cristie tried to speak, but fear trapped the words in her throat.

 

"You are very like her," he remarked, a note of wonder in his voice.

 

His voice was mesmerizing, a deep, rich baritone laced with pain and sorrow and a soul-deep loneliness.

 

Caught in the web of his gaze, she could only stare up at him, her heart pounding a staccato beat as he reached toward her, his knuckles sliding lightly over her cheek.

 

"Who?" Her voice was no more than a whisper.  "Who are you?"

 

"Forgive me," he said with a courtly bow.  "I am Erik."

 

She swallowed hard.  "Erik?"

 

A slight nod, filled with arrogance.  One dark brow arched in wry amusement.  "Some people know me as the Phantom of the Opera."

Jason Blackthorne is the stuff of nightmare…and fantasies. He is a vampire, doomed to an eternity of darkness and feeding on human blood to survive, until he meets Leanne, the sunshine to his darkness. She is a singer/dancer, to whom Jason finds himself inexplicably drawn. From the moment Leanne meets him, she is convinced he is the man she has waited for her whole life. But Jason is terrified to reveal his secret; convinced Leanne would be repulsed by the truth. Will they overcome the curse binding him to a lonely darkness forever, to be
together?

 

# # # 

 

Los Angeles

1993

 

He was a very old vampire, weary of living, weary of coming alive only in the darkness of the night. 

 

For three hundred years he had wandered the unending road of his life alone, his existence maintained at the expense of unwary mortals, until the advent of blood banks made it possible to satisfy his unholy hunger without preying on the lives of the innocent and unsuspecting.

 

And yet there were times, as now, when the need to savor blood taken from a living, breathing soul was overwhelming. To feel his fangs sink into human flesh, to feel the warm rush of fresh blood flowing over his tongue. It was a high like no other; a craving he fought against, but didn't always win.

 

Tonight, he stood in the dim shadows outside the Ahmanson, watching groups of happy, well-dressed people exit the theater.  He listened to snatches of their conversation as they discussed the play.  He had seen the show numerous times; perhaps, he thought wryly, because he could so easily sympathize with the plight of the Phantom of the Opera.  Like Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's tragic hero, he, too, was forced to live in the shadows, cursed to shun the light and warmth of the sun, unable to reveal his true identity.

 

And so he lurked on the outskirts of mortality, breathing in the fragrance of the warm-blooded creatures who passed him by.  They hurried along, laughing and talking, blissfully unaware that a monster was watching.  It took no effort at all to drink in the myriad smells of their humanity – a blend of perfume and sweat, shampoo and toothpaste, face powder and deodorant.  He sensed their happiness, their sorrows, their deepest fears.

 

He waited until the crowds had thinned, and then he began to follow one of the numerous street beggars who had been hustling the theater patrons for money and cigarettes.  There were hundreds of homeless men roaming the dark streets of the City of Angels.  On any given night, you could find a dozen or more panhandlers lingering outside the Ahmanson, hoping to score a few dollars that would enable them to buy a bottle of cheap booze and a few hours of forgetfulness. If only he could drown his own past in a pint of whiskey.

 

Silent as a shadow, he ghosted up behind his prey. 

Cover copy:

A once in a lifetime trip to Graceland and then on to Vegas is a dream come true for Kathy Browne. She stumbles upon a remarkable Elvis impersonator and is drawn to his show night after night. Then a miracle happens and he notices her, approaches her, and asks her out. Amazingly she wins a jackpot allowing her to extend her stay; but something isn't quite right. Is Jessie too good to be true?

 

 # # #

Las Vegas, Nevada

August, 2011

He called himself Jessie Garon Presley, and he was the most amazing Elvis look-a-like Kathy had ever seen.  He had the same intense blue eyes, the same pouty lower lip, and he wore his thick black hair in the style Elvis had made famous back in the Fifties - sideburns and a ducktail.  But instead of wearing the flashy, sequined jumpsuits Elvis had favored in his later years, Jessie wore a pair of slick black pants and a black silk shirt, open at the throat.  A thick gold chain circled his neck.  A gold ring with a diamond the size of a golf-ball winked on the middle finger of his right hand.