An ARC of a Spark from Michele Fogal

[Note from Jessa: The noise to signal ratio for new books is, er, challenging to rise above. Author LOVE readers to share in the signal! So here’s a way to get involved with a maybe new-to-you author and help spread the words!]

amok monday guest authors

Hello fellow story gobblers,

Hot off the Presses!
I have just created an Advance Review Copy (ARC) of my 3rd published novel, Root of the Spark. Book 1 in my Wild Seed series, it’s a science fiction novel with a strong love story and LGBT elements, and it’s being published by Loose Id, Nov 22, 2016.
I’m hoping to generate reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. Logging in to either of those sites and rating a book really helps an author build street cred. Even a single sentence review counts towards my numbers. Feel free to forward this invite to friends who like a novel with a large dollop of spicy diversity.
The ARC ebook is a copy of the manuscript prior to final proofing, thus there could be small changes in the final. I have it available in mobi, epub and pdf formats, so if you’d like to read it, please let me know what you need.
The Launch
If you’d like to get notified about this launch and my other upcoming books, please join my newsletter here: News emails will be brief and infrequent.
Thanks for your support! I’m looking forward to sharing this quirky tale.

Root of the Spark – Blurb

Dell has an unexpected spark that masculine and feminine energies create when swirled and fused inside a single person. But will this be enough to stop the age-old tide of fear and violence as it rises again?

Born in the midst of the oldest human war, the war of the sexes, Dell is the first true hermaphrodite on the planet of Ameliaura. Dell has used the anonymity of the Fatherlander cities to survive, and the tight community of the Motherlander villages to manage, but reaching maturity means that neither of those are enough to thrive on anymore. After a vicious attack, and an unexpected love interest, Dell must step into the light to fight for a real home.

Warning: this book contains a child who is actually an ancient dragon made of fungus, a lovely villain imprisoned inside the creature’s body, a hasty clan gathering in the collective subconscious, a hermaphrodite orphanage on the brink, and some very naughty acts on a staircase.

Title: Root of the Spark (Wild Seed #1)
Author: Michele Fogal
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance, LGBT
Length: 88,000 words (Novel)
Publisher: Loose Id
Release Date: Nov 22, 2016

Excerpt: Root of the Spark

I was huffing and slugging the walls until I fell to my knees, and then I figured it was just as good to beat the hell out of the floor since it was all clearly the same shit. Its body. The whole thing was its lord-forgotten body. With me just like a tiny maggot inside a fart bubble in its gut. I started to shake.

It could probably turn this whole room into that harder stuff if it wanted. It could probably collapse the walls and crush me just like the bug I was. I put something extra into the next wallop I laid onto the floor when I thought of that.

“Come on, you son of a whore! Just get it over with. Come and crush me up like a worm. I’d rather die now than sit here waiting for whatever your sick, fat brain is thinking up for me.”

I flopped out flat and rolled to look at the ceiling. There it was, glowing away like its own little sun was in behind a thin blanket of that stuff. What could I possibly do that would make the hugest beast sit up and pay me any kind of notice? Even if I’d had a knife or a sword, what good would that have done? A shock stick would have barely tickled that thing’s tonsils.

It was time to man up to the fact that not only was I in the plink with no real date for getting out, not only was there no way out, but I was nothing. I had nothing to fight with, no strength worth a wit in here. I cried then, like a baby. Or rather, like a toddler. Any man that’s had kids of his own knows that no baby ever did crying the justice that a two-year-old can.

I gave in and let it roll outta me, snot and sobs and all. The red-hot shame of it was something terrible. I was nothing, and this thing that held me, it was seeing all of this and would now know not just how weak I was—which, when you think about it, Acorn must have known before I was even in here—but that I knew how weak I was and couldn’t keep myself from admitting it.

How long had it taken to break me? A few hours? It was pathetic how weak I was, the toughest of the hard-working guys. I was terrified in a way I hadn’t felt in a long time. No booze, no people. I had to have one or the other. To be alone with myself was just not…safe.

Michele Fogal
Love stories of the quirky and diverse
Author Site & Blog:

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Story sweeps up the dust of our lives, moistens it with breath, and grows food for the soul.

Introducing ELSA JADE

It rains a lot here in the Pacific Northwest where I live, and we have lots of jokes about various things “sprouting like mushrooms”, and apparently one of those things is pen names.

This year, I launched a new “me” for reasons. The primary reason being that it amused me, which as far as reasons go, seems as good as any. (If you are an aspiring writer, please do not follow that reasoning.)

So now that Elsa Jade has a few words behind her name, I thought it was time to share her with you. And she already has an exciting new project…

Mating Season FB profile headerSix authors writing three novellas each about six different werewolf packs in one shared world. Super cool, right? My first contribution to the the world of the Mating Season is the purple manly fellow in the third slot. I’ll have two more coming in short order. I’m really excited about writing alongside these authors, some of whom you probably already know and some who are as shiny and new as Elsa Jade. I hope you’ll like Elsa and her friends and this new world as much as I do!

Elsa Jade website
Elsa on Facebook – Profile and Fan Page
The Mating Season website
Mating Season: Wolves of Angels Rest #1: Hero by Elsa JadeMating Season: Wolves of Angels Rest #1: Hero by Elsa Jade
99¢ or Free with Kindle Unlimited

The mating moon is rising…

A wandering werewolf returns to town during the mating season to become pack leader and reunites for one last fling with the high school crush he left behind, unaware of how short their time together might be…

Maddie Joplin left the high desert town of Angels Rest with the searing memory of her one night in the arms of the local golden boy nipping at her heels. Now, years later, she’s back, haunted by a need she couldn’t outrun and determined to finally set herself free from wishes that can never come true.

In the army, Kane Villalobos traveled the world, seeking other shapeshifters who’d learned to live in harmony with human, only to find secrecy and death. He’s destined to become alpha of the Mesa Diablo pack, but he can’t forget the lush curves and quick mouth of the girl he had to leave behind. Seeing her again arouses his wolf in dangerous ways, and keeping her safe—from himself and the perils of the werewolf world—might mean letting her go forever.

Amok on Monday: More from Ines Johnson

amok monday guest authors

[Note from Jessa: When Ines Johnson offered up a guest post on seducing priests — in our stories, you wicked readers! — I said sign me up. I’m still deeply resentful that we didn’t get Book’s story in Firefly (cue copious tears) because he was a seriously sexy man with secrets that needed to be unveiled. And Joscelin in Kushiel’s Dart? Swoon! But I digress. Let’s get to Ms. Johnson’s story…]

Men of Devotion

By Ines Johnson

If you read my books, you may have noticed a theme. Between the covers of many of my stories you’ll find a man of the cloth, who struggles with his feelings for a woman, and ultimately succumbs to the glories of romantic love.

An Old Testament

My fascination with priests began with the television movie, The Thornbirds. Richard Chamberlain in robes -nuff said. Its not just priests I’m fascinated with. It was an illuminating experience for me watching the Jedi of Star Wars. I even found Yoda hot! And then there was that string of movies about fallen angels where Christopher Walken was a badass angel and Elias Koteas was a former priest. Yummy. But the priest to end all priests? Matthew McConaughey in Contact!

Why am I attracted to priests, monks, angels, and even cone-headed, Buddha-like aliens? Because these men of devotion have a lot of qualities that women look for in their partners. They’re disciplined, full of grace, devoted, and they understand sacrifice.

A Beautiful Mind

Spiritual men are smart. Monks spend their lives studying ancient texts. Priests have to get a degree from college or seminary school, which can take anywhere from four to eight years. Jedi are taken as children, younglings, into the order. Other than Luke Skywalker, we know they spend all of their formative years training in the mental and physical art of the force.

Hopelessly Devoted

Speaking of Skywalkers, Padme didn’t fall for cute and cuddly Anakin. No, she fell for the grown Jedi who began to tug at the rules of his order as he pursued her affections. We all like a rebel, a bad boy, to some degree. The man of cloth might not be the bad boy, but their situation is definitely a naughty and forbidden one. He’s pledged his loyalty and devotion to another: namely god, a goddess, or some higher power.

The Sexy Priest trope is the perfect love triangle. You have the sexy priest, the first leg of the triangle. The priest is devoted to his vows, the second leg of the triangle. And then in walks another set of legs, the heroine. Admit it: we all want to be the chosen one in a love triangle. And if you can emerge the victor over a god-figure…

I already recognize that I’m going to hell. But that’s okay, because that’s where all of the sexy, fallen priests will be!

The Loyal Steed: A Pleasure Hound Novel

What starts as a series of carnal lessons turns into more as two rivals vie for the woman of their dreams.

Jaspir has been in love with Lady Merlyn since they were children, but she has always been out of his reach. Trained as a Pleasure Hound and now surviving by selling his body to rich women, his heart has always remained loyal to his true love.

Liam was promised to Merlyn in their youth, but he’s always known that he’s not the man in her heart. With their betrothal approaching, Liam seeks out Jaspir for help. Eager to ensure the happiness of the woman they both love, Jaspir agrees to train Liam in the pleasure arts.

What starts as rivals in an uneasy truce, soon turns carnal when Merlyn learns of their secret lessons. In a society where men are second class citizens, Merlyn is torn between the attentions of two men who would do anything to rule her heart.


Lesson One

Jaspir regarded his longtime foe. Set in Liam’s pale face was green eyes with thick lashes, a strong jaw and a mouth with a thin upper lip, but full lower lip. Jaspir had hated this pale face for many years. He blocked out Liam’s face and focused on the man’s lips. As he did with his more unattractive clients, Jaspir pictured Merlyn in his head, narrowing his world to what these lips would do for her.

Jaspir grazed his fingers along the lips before him. They were thinner than his own. His lessons would have to account for that. “Lesson number one,” he said. “The bedroom is the only place where a man can truly rule a woman.”

Jaspir clasped the chin that belonged to the lips, eliciting another gasp.

“You need to take charge,” he said. “Be in control.”

Jaspir’s fingers curled about the neck and the lips parted as he did so.

“Merlyn thinks too much. Her head rules her entire body. If you have control of her head…”

His fingers went into the red hairs at the nape of the neck that belonged to the lips. With a firm tug, the head went back exposing the neck. “…you have control of her.”

Jaspir let his focus extend from the lips to the exposed neck. His tongue struck out and he licked. He felt the body trembling in his grasp.

“Lesson number two, never do what’s expected.” Jaspir bit lightly at the chin. “Merlyn will anticipate your every move. She can’t help it. She remembers the sequence of things. If you are repetitive, you will lose her. Do you understand?”

Jaspir watched as the lips tried to form words, but the trembling thwarted them. In the end, Jaspir was given a nod of acquiescence.


Jaspir focused on the lips once more. He nipped at them. He nipped at the bottom lip, which was plumper than the top. He nipped at the corner, flicking his tongue out. He continued this random pattern as the lips tried to anticipate his next move, each time failing to predict it.

“Lesson three, make her chase you. Once you—”

The lips cut him off. The lips Jaspir had thought so small covered his own and tried to devour him. For unpracticed lips they were warm and wanton. Perhaps Liam could please Merlyn after all. But first, he had to pay attention.

Jaspir used the hand still at the nape of Liam’s neck to yank him away. Liam groaned at the loss, his chest panting, his eyes hooded.

“Are you listening, Liam?”

Liam blinked once, twice. By the third blink, he’d recovered himself and yanked away from Jaspir’s hold, embarrassment clear on his face. “All right,” Liam said. “You’ve made your point.”

“I don’t think I have.”

Liam clenched his jaw.

“Show me what you’ve learned.”

Liam’s eyes whipped to Jaspir’s. Jaspir placed his hands in his lap and waited.

Slowly Liam raised his hands. They grazed Jaspir’s chin. The soft, un-callused fingers reminding Jaspir of a woman’s gentle touch. Before Jaspir could process the softness, Liam’s fingers tangled in his hair and wrenched Jaspir’s head back.

Jaspir barely held back his moan of pleasure. He liked it rough from time to time, but that would not do for Lady Merlyn. “Not that firm. She’s more delicate than I am. Just enough to let her know that you’re in control.”

Liam loosened his grip a fraction. He looked to Jaspir for approval. Jaspir recognized the spark of need in the other male’s eyes. How this man lived ten years under Merlyn’s roof and never stole a single kiss was a true mystery to Jaspir.

“Good,” Jaspir nodded.

The spark in Liam’s eyes ignited into the smallest of flames before he dipped his head and put his mouth to Jaspir’s throat. Liam’s movements were unpracticed and hesitant, but the heat of his mouth sent a message to Jaspir’s dick. Jaspir focused on his breaths instead of the heat climbing across his hips.

There was no way he’d be turned on by this soft-hand, unpracticed, First, virgin.

Liam nibbled at Jaspir’s lip now, his hunger making up for his lack of skill. Jaspir knew desire. He understood wanting something that he thought was off limits to him. Jaspir softened and turned his head into the kiss.

For a moment, Jaspir allowed Liam to claim him. Allowed him to taste that thing that he could never possess. To pretend for just a moment that it could be this way; that they could be together always. That they could live on a land away from society and everything tearing them apart. To live in a small cottage surrounded by impossible flowers of red, purple and green.

The kiss turned brutal as both men fought to stake their claim. Until finally, Jaspir gave a tug of Liam’s hair, pulling them apart. Both men stared at the other, panting, eyes clear, realization dawning that neither held the object of their desire.

“That’ll be all for today’s lessons.”

It took a moment, but finally Liam rose. “When do I—” He stopped and cleared his throat.

“When do I come back for our second appointment?”

Jaspir turned to him, his face a mask of unconcern. “Pick any day you’d like. I’ve cleared my entire schedule just for you.”

Part One: May 12th, 2015

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Part Two: May 19th, 2015

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Part Three: May 26th, 2015

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The Complete Serial: June 2nd, 2015

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Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio as a girl; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandalous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!

Aside from being a writer, professional reader, and teacher, Ines is a very bad Buddhist. She sits in sangha each week, and while others are meditating and getting their zen on, she’s contemplating how to use the teachings to strengthen her plots and character motivations.

Ines lives outside Washington, DC with her two little sidekicks who are growing up way too fast.

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Amok on Mondays: Ines Johnson

amok monday guest authorsNote from Jessa: Ines Johnson first caught my eyes with her “Pleasure Hound” post-apocalyptic erotica series, and now she has the first in her contemporary romance “Cindermama” series where single mothers get a second chance at happily ever after. Obviously she hits all my favorite notes 🙂 Please welcome Ines Johnson to Amok on Mondays.

Which Disney princess are you most like? Or least like?
I vacillate between Anya and Elsa. I’m fiercely strong and self-sufficient like the younger princess. I also have Anya’s proclivity to not edit what I say. On the flipside, I would love a fortress of solitude where I could be alone in the quiet, just like Elsa.

Which romantic lead tropes do you find yourself returning to in your stories?
I have a series of fairytale retellings where all of the heroines are single mothers who shun the wait for the prince or white knight model. These women pick up the sword and hop on the horse to save themselves.My story is a fairytale retelling of the Cinderella story, but in my story, Cinderella married the frog first and had a baby. I knew I wanted to convey the Cinderella trope in the title. I began thinking about symbols and a pumpkin popped into my head. That’s how my character got her nickname.

When did you realize you were a writer? What was your inciting incident?
I come from a family of storytellers. My mother would talk your ears off for hours and my father is a songwriter. I began my storytelling career in television, where I still dabble from time to time. A few years ago I’d written a script that I thought would make an excellent book, only I didn’t know how to write a book. So I took a couple of classes and started querying. I never received a single rejection letter. Instead, I got no responses at all in the beginning! But I never gave up and I never stopped writing. Wait, isn’t that the definition of insanity?

What do you like best about your current work, published or not?
Perfect heroines are boring and unrealistic to me; they must be flawed in some way. I prefer stories where the heroines are strong, bright, and successful in their careers but are clueless and inept in their love lives. The heroine of my current release, Pumpkin, is exactly this. She had her head in the clouds and storybooks all her life. Unfortunately, she kissed a toad! I loved knocking down her doubts and insecurities about falling in love again.

What inspired your current story?

This story is based on actual events. Shortly after my divorce, I was out with my two children at a community farmer’s market. A really handsome politician waved me over and began chatting with me about his platform. I was more interested in his light-colored eyes. But my burgeoning fantasy was dashed when my son sauntered over and embarrassing words spewed from his mouth. I ushered myself and my kids away, chiding my silly imagination. What man would be interested in a single mother of two school-aged kids? There are no fairytales featuring mothers as the heroines.

That night, I rewrote the events of the day to my liking. In my imagination, the light-eyed politician asked me out, after winning over my guard dog of a son. We got married and I moved out of my apartment and into some big mansion with a closet stocked full of name brand clothes. Oh, that closet…

Anyway, it was October, and so I plotted the book for the next month of NANO. The completed manuscript sat in a drawer for years because I didn’t think anyone would want to read a story where a single mother was the hero. Thankfully, I was wrong. Every woman deserves an HEA.


Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio as a girl; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandalous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!

Aside from being a writer, professional reader, and teacher, Ines is a very bad Buddhist. She sits in sangha each week, and while others are meditating and getting their zen on, she’s contemplating how to use the teachings to strengthen her plots and character motivations.

Ines lives outside Washington, DC with her two little sidekicks who are growing up way too fast.


Single mother Malika “Pumpkin” Tavares lost faith in fairytales after she fell for a toad. Town royalty Armand “Manny” Charmayne has been searching for his soulmate all his life, whom he’ll recognize at first sight by a golden aura, that only he can see, surrounding her person. Manny doesn’t see gold when he meets Pumpkin, but the more he gets to know her the more he considers defying fate, if only he can convince her to take a chance on love again.


The Grand Gesture

The Mistress of Ceremonies hurried through her introductions and then the microphone was in Manny’s hand, but he didn’t take out the notes of his prepared speech.

“Many of you knew my mother,” he began. There was a murmur of nostalgic assent throughout the crowd.

“You may not know that after her diagnosis, she spent most of her days watching romantic comedies. She believed she could laugh the illness out of her body. Her favorite moments in these films were something called the Grand Gesture. That scene just after all hope is lost because one of the lovers, normally the guy, has done something stupid that’s led to the end of the relationship. So he thinks up this bold, romantic move to get the woman back.”

A glance around the room told Manny that he held the largely female crowd in rapt attention.

“An example of a grand gesture would be a guy telling his estranged wife that she completes him in the midst of an angry mob of women. Or rescuing her underwear from the class geek and returning it to her at her sister’s wedding. Or holding a boom box over his head, in front of her bedroom window, early in the morning, while blasting the song that was playing as he deflowered her.”

A different wave of nostalgia swept through the crowd this time as they remembered these treasured moments of Hollywood cinema.

“In the real world, some people might call these behaviors creepy, or stalker-ish. But not my mother. She loved them. She believed in love, believed that when you loved someone you said it loud, you showed it often, and you never gave up.”

Manny paused here, partly for effect, mostly to collect himself as visions of his mother’s joyous face played in his head. He rubbed the heel of his hand against his chest.

“The national divorce rate is 50 percent.”

There was no surprise in the room, where most of the men were older and the women on their arms were younger.

“There’s never been a divorce in the Charmayne family. Not one recorded anywhere in our family line.”

The sparkle of young women’s eyes threatened to blind Manny from where he stood on the stage.

“What that means is when a Charmayne gives you their pledge, they are committed.”

The decision was a split second one, but once Manny made it he stuck with it. He stepped around the podium, mic in hand and dropped to one knee. The gasp of every woman in the room was near deafening.

“To earn your vote, I will do whatever I have to, including blast Peter Gabriel in the streets. Charmaynes don’t quit. I’m committed to this, to the people of this town. I hope that I can count on your vote.”

The room erupted in thunderous applause, and the women’s eyes sparkled even brighter.

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Amok on Monday with Paty Jager

paty jager and horseNote from Jessa: I’m so psyched to have author Paty Jager on my blog today. She’s perfect for an Amok post because she seems like such a nice, quiet lady, and then you find out she’s, like, actually a real-life rope-’em cowgirl! She has horses and cows and cute dogs and hay and other cowgirl things. A hat and boots even! Check out her blog and social media links at the end of this post to follow her and see all the amazing pictures of what life is like for a modern cowgirl. And then enjoy all her western-themed romances plus mysteries and adventures. Thanks for being with us, Paty!

  • Which is your favorite myth, legend, urban legend, Aesop fable, fairy tale, or superhero, and why?

I have always been interested in the story of the Wallowa Lake monster. This is the lake in the area where I grew up. As a child I stared at the lake and vowed I’d never go in. The story was told that a great antlered beast lived in the bottomless lake. Growing up and learning more about the area, I discovered the myth or legend started with the Nez Perce Indian band that lived in the Wallowa Valley in the summer time. One winter was so cold that when elk tried to swim across the lake they froze and their antlers remained above the ice’s surface, this is how the myth started of the antlered monster. The adults in the Nez Perce band used this as a means of keeping the children in line. It was their “boogie” man. They told the children if they weren’t good and didn’t listen to their elders, the antlered beast of the lake would come to their lodge at night and take them down into his watery home. I used this concept for one of the Nez Perce spirits on my Spirit Trilogy books. He is a shape shifter who lives in the form of an elk in Wallowa Lake.

  • Which Disney princess are you most like? Or least like? Personalities aside, whose hair would you want?

Disney princess…My favorite is Mulan. She pretended to be a male to keep her invalid father from having to go to war. I liked her spunk and showing the boys/men she could do everything they did. I was like that as a youth. I had to do everything my brothers did and better. As for hair… It’s a toss-up between Ariel’s thick, fiery locks and Rapunzel’s long, silky strands. At this point I like anything that isn’t silver. 😉

  • Which romantic lead tropes do you find yourself returning to in your stories?

My heroines have to be take charge women and my heroes have to have a sense of humor.

  • When did you realize you were a writer? What was your inciting incident?

My inciting incident for becoming a writer happened my senior year of high school. Our English teacher gave an assignment to research a person from history and write about an event that happened in their life from their point of view. I chose Joan of Arc burning at the stake. The teacher picked my story to read to the class. When she finished, no one, not even the class clown, made a sound. Having been an avid reader my whole life that was the first time I honestly realized the power of words.

  • If you weren’t a writer, what would you do with all that free time?

I’m a creative person. I’d be making quilts, decorating cakes, possibly painting. Instead I paint visions in reader’s minds with my words.

  • What is your personal theme song today?

Today- The day I answered all these questions my theme song is Celebrate! We (hubby and I) are building a house with the hopes of moving in before Christmas and today we passed all the inspections!! Now we can move forward and only have to worry about the final inspection.

  • Not including the obvious (guns, knives, etc.) which object nearest you would make a suitable weapon in the event of a zombie-ninja-robot invasion?

Probably my dog’s breath! Honestly, I don’t know how something so cute can put off such a pungent odor. All she’d have to do is pant and it would putrefy the zombie completely, weaken the ninja, and melt the robot’s metal.

  • What do you like best about your current work, published or not?

I am having the time of my life writing my new mystery series. The amateur sleuth is a potter who sells her wares as art. She is part Native American and her recently deceased grandmother comes to her in dreams revealing hints to the murderers.

  • Do you do anything special for your readers?

Paty Jager Western Duets ChristmasEvery year about this time I like to “give away” a book or story. This year it is Western Holiday Duets this is a novelette with two short historical western romances. You can find it for free at:

Barnes and Noble


This is Jessa again. Thanks, Paty, for sharing the holiday spirit with us! Want to read more from Paty Jager? You can find Double Duplicity: A Shandra Higheagle Mystery at Amazon for pre-order. Release date is Jan. 10, 2015.

Paty Jager Double DuplicityDouble Duplicity Blurb

On the eve of the biggest art event at Huckleberry Mountain Resort, potter Shandra Higheagle finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. She’s ruled out as a suspect, but now it’s up to her to prove the friend she’d witnessed fleeing the scene was just as innocent. With help from her recently deceased Nez Perce grandmother, Shandra becomes more confused than ever, but just as determined to discover the truth.

Detective Ryan Greer prides himself on solving crimes and refuses to ignore a single clue, including Shandra Higheagle’s visions. While Shandra is hesitant to trust her dreams, Ryan believes in them and believes in her. Together they discover the gallery owner wasn’t the respectable woman she’d portrayed. Can the pair uncover enough clues for Ryan to make an arrest before one of them becomes the next victim?


“Paula?” A light shone around the edges of the partially open office door. Shandra pushed the door open. “Why aren’t you answer—”

Paula’s arms hung splayed away from her body that was cradled in her leather office chair. A large red patch spread across her body and lifeless eyes stared up at the ceiling.

Shandra backed out of the room. She couldn’t swallow for the lump of fear and vileness she’d just witnessed.

“Think… Call the police.” She punched in 9 as sirens shrieked and grew louder. “Maybe they’re coming here.” They had to be coming here. This town is too small for there to be two incidents where the cops are needed at the same time.

She put her phone in her bag and strode toward the front of the building. The door buzzed, and a young officer she’d never seen before burst into the building with his gun held in front of him.

“Stop! Put your hands in the air!” he shouted.

Shandra squeaked and raised her arms.

“Did you call the cops?”

“No. I—”

He advanced on her so fast she didn’t know what was happening until he wrenched her arm behind her back.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m detaining you until I can search the premises.” He cuffed her and started to haul her to the door.

“Oh, no, you don’t. I’m not going into a squad car and looking like a criminal when I’m not. I just arrived and found Paula in the office. I was starting to call nine-one-one when I heard the sirens.” Shandra dug in her boot heels. There was no way she’d have the whole town see her sitting in a cop car. She’d done nothing wrong.

“Who’s Paula?” He tugged on her, but she refused to be humiliated for nothing.

“The owner of the gallery. She’s in her chair in the office. Dead.” That stopped the zealous officer.

“We received a phone call of suspicious activity.” He changed course, pushing her ahead of him to the back of the building and the office.

Shandra complied. She’d rather stand by the office door while he did his thing than be seen in a cop car.

At the office, Blane, his name tag said, stood her next to the door. “Don’t move. You’re still a suspect.”

She nodded. She’d stay here all day if she didn’t have to look at Paula again.


Bio: Award-winning author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon.  On her road to publication she wrote freelance articles for two local newspapers and enjoyed her job with the County Extension service as a 4-H Program Assistant. Raising hay and cattle, riding horses, and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her penchant for research takes her on side trips that eventually turn into yet another story.

You can learn more about Paty at her blog Writing into the Sunset; her website; or on FacebookGoodreads and Twitter.