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About the Book
Fire and Shadow
Susan J. McLeod
(Lily Evans Mystery Series #2)
Trade Paperback, 152 pages
Imajin Books, October 19, 2013
Paranormal Fiction, Suspense
Goodreads Synopsis: Artist and Egyptologist Lily Evans struggles with her newly discovered psychic talents, while trying to get her life back to normal now that her mother is in a mental institution and the man Lily loves is far away in England. But "normal" is the last thing she finds.
When her best friend Katy takes her to a Celtic Faire, Lily meets a Druid fortune-teller, who warns her that she can “never escape the Other.” Frightened and angry, Lily ignores his dire warning and stumbles across an eerie old portrait of a beautiful woman, who has something to tell her.
With the help of the enigmatic Druid and his gifted friends, Lily embarks on a dangerous journey to unravel the mysteries of the portrait, the Tarot card reader, an ancient book and whispers of witchcraft. She must discover the truth behind them all…or risk losing her very soul.
Excerpt from 'Epilogue'
(Author's Literary Device)
They were coming for her.
She, who burned in the world like a flame, whose beauty drew all men, whose knowledge was so powerful it had to be buried.
How could such a life end in fire as well?
She should have foreseen the danger, yet she had depended on love and laughed in the face of hatred. She'd had time. She'd had her position and her man and her power. The people could whisper and cross themselves as she passed by, but did they not come to her for potions still? Did they not seek help when their families or their animals ailed? Hypocrites and cowards, all of them. Who would speak for her when the unthinkable happened? Who would protect her in her own home? No one.
She was alone. Her husband was away and could not fight for her. She could see the mob approaching the house. Their malice was a palpable entity. The madness in their eyes told her she was doomed. They broke down the door and burst in, Reverend Lacy leading them, quoting scripture while his parishioners chanted and prayed. The loathsome figure of Amos Woodbine wielded his heavy walking stick, his face twisted in triumph. For a moment, rage overcame her fear.
"Lecherous dog! This is how you treat your own family? I swear, you shall not long outlive this abomination." She pointed an accusing finger at the crowd. "And the rest of you -- what courage, what character you possess. You bring a rabble against one small woman? How proud you must be of your virtue."
Her dark eyes flashed and she tossed her long, silky hair. More than one male heart stirred. But there could be no stopping the mob now.
"Silence, witch! You have worked your last evil upon this town." The reverend twitched with excitement. "I consign thee to the depths of Hell."
At this signal, everyone threw their torches to the floor. The wood quickly began to burn, aided by the oil in the lamps. She glanced about wildly, seeking escape, but the cowards were blocking the doors and windows from outside. Smoke began to fill the room.
Although it was becoming hard to breathe, she managed a last defiant shout. "Fools! You cannot destroy me. I shall return."
The flames crept closer, hungry for her flesh. She screamed with all her might. Then she crumpled, unconscious, to the floor.
She awoke to darkness.
She was but a shadow now, lost in that dead world, yet not wholly alone. Sometimes she could hear his voice -- her husband's -- and it brought both joy and anguish. The man she had thought to spend eternity with, their love reduced to memories and whispers.
"Rose? Where are you?" His words were filled with longing and pain. "When shall I see you again?"
But she had no answer to comfort him.
Her only hope was the portrait -- her image on canvas, a gift from her husband. Into the painting had gone his love and passion and a spark of the power between them, a spark of her soul. It had been hidden carefully in the attic of the old mansion. The precious book that was the repository of her knowledge was secure as well. She and Jacob had buried it only days before, after that mad preacher had first visited their house. The book had been almost complete, but they had sensed the animosity of the town growing. It had been best to take every precaution to keep the family safe while they made their final plans.
Alas, she had not believed the townspeople would strike so quickly. Jacob had been hunting in the woods with the wolf, and when he returned, he'd found their home a smoldering ruin. Before he could even grasp what had happened, he was dead. Four shots from a townsman's gun finished the murderous business of the day.
But she would not lose him. Somehow she would escape.
Susan Jane McLeod
About the Author
Susan Jane McLeod has been writing since she was seven years old. At age eleven she won a county-wide essay contest and her professional career was launched. By the time she was nineteen, her poetry had appeared in several magazines, including American Girl and Seventeen. She also won an honorable mention in The Writer. She grew up in Rochester, New York, with three sisters and one brother.
She has worked at several jobs ranging from a baby store to a research consultant, but her favorite was managing a bookstore, surrounded by her passion: literature. She is currently employed by a non-profit foundation that runs Zara's Center, a home for AIDS-impacted orphans in Zimbawbwe.
Susan has published several short stories and two novels. The first, Soul and Shadow, is an award-winning paranormal historical romance. The second, Fire and Shadow, is classified as paranormal suspense. Both books have been in Amazon's Top 100 Bestsellers category.
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